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Mclean urges men to follow suit

Victorious England captain Katy Mclean has thrown down the gauntlet to the men's team to secure double World Cup glory.

Mclean's team lifted the Women's World Cup by defeating Canada in the final earlier this month, and the fly-half revealed she spoke to men's coach Stuart Lancaster in the immediate aftermath and issued a challenge.

Mclean, speaking at her club Darlington Mowden Park as it was confirmed as a training base for the men's World Cup next year, said with a smile: "I saw Stuart after the game - luckily he was out there - and just said, 'no pressure'.

"The under-20s boys are now world champions, the women and now it is kind of up to the guys.

"But that's the best bit about sport. You look at the way English sport has come on and the things we have hosted recently - that's what it should be like, we should be aspiring to be world champions.

"By everybody doing that, you are going to change the youth of today and make them aspire to be a sportswoman or a sportsman."

Schoolteacher Mclean and her team-mates have been caught up in something of a whirlwind since their final victory, and she is looking forward to returning to work at Bexhill Academy in Sunderland on Monday to share her success with her pupils.

However, the return will be short-lived after it was revealed she is one of 12 World Cup winners among a squad of 20 players to be handed a sevens professional contract by the Rugby Football Union with a view to qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

But, while Mclean may be leaving teaching, she has no intention of turning her back on either 15-a-side rugby or Mowden Park.

She said: "I definitely still want to play international 15s and I definitely want to play club 15s - it's a massive part of our game and we would be silly to start saying, 'sevens is the way forward and that's all we are going to play'.

"For me, it is going to be negotiating with the club. Obviously I am going to be based in Surrey, but I have got no intentions of leaving Darlington. I'll just have to negotiate a bit of travel."

Club-mate and fellow World Cup winner Tamara Taylor, an RFU community coach, is already back at work and looking forward to the new rugby season.

She said: "I can't believe I am standing back on my club ground now having won the World Cup a week ago. It's been a whirlwind.

"The support while we were away was brilliant - we had loads of message via Twitter and different social media - and everyone I have seen, much more than we have ever seen before.

"Even non-rugby people have come up to me and said, 'I haven't really watched very much rugby before, but we watched your game in the final and we were cheering and it was a great game'.

"It's brilliant for women's sport, but in general with the men's World Cup next year, it's great for the country."


From Belfast Telegraph