sport

Opening salvo delights Hunter

Vice-captain Sarah Hunter admits there is a sense of relief in the England camp after they got their Women’s Rugby World Cup campaign off to a winning start.

Gary Street's English Roses roared to victory with a 10-try demolition of Samoa in the south of France on Friday afternoon.

Wingers Katherine Merchant and Lydia Thompson and scrum-halves Natasha Hunt and Kay Wilson all bagged braces of tries while Emily Scarratt racked up 20 points and La Toya Mason also graced the scoresheet as England moved level on points with Canada, who beat Spain 31-7 earlier in the day, at the Pool A summit.

Samoa were quickly reduced to 14 women with Soteria Pulumu red-carded for a tip-tackle on Hunt and Hunter was delighted with the way England seized their advantage.

"We've been working for this for the last seven months, itching to get on the pitch and it's a bit of a relief to have the first game out of the way and got this World Cup campaign off to a good start," she told Sky Sports.

"I think at times we did execute some of the things we've been working on, one of which was playing with width and tempo.

"Samoa are a fantastic opposition and they really put the pressure on us, which meant our execution let us down at times and that is something we will look to review to see where we can be more clinical against Spain on Tuesday."

England dominated throughout and chalked up tries at regular intervals but Hunter claims they were forced to work hard for their advantage.

"We knew what they would offer, big physical attacking team and they certainly didn't let us down in that aspect," she claimed.

"They brought everything and some of their expansive rugby on the counter attack was fantastic and really tested us at times."

Next on the agenda for England is a clash with Spain on Tuesday before a crunch clash with Canada on Saturday which could turn out to be a group decider.

"We'll go away and do our analysis on Spain after their game today and we'll take one game at a time," Hunter added.

"We will go away and look at a game-plan for Spain but we are definitely a team that likes to play with width and tempo."