Heavy-hearted Scarratt to weigh up her options
New Zealand 41 England 32
Emily Scarratt admitted to feeling “a bit empty” after England’s women saw their hopes of retaining the Rugby World Cup dashed by New Zealand.
The Black Ferns scored seven tries on their way to a pulsating victory in Belfast, landing a fifth world title.
And some of the England squad are now set to lose their professional contracts, with the Rugby Football Union putting an emphasis on sevens for the next two years, although several players will be signed up by Twickenham chiefs to participate for England on the world sevens circuit.
Fresh 15-a-side deals are then set to return ahead of the 2021 World Cup, but Saturday’s defeat at the Kingspan Stadium was possibly a last Red Roses appearance for some senior figures.
“I have hopefully got a few more years left in me yet, and we will see what they hold in terms of sevens, fifteens, or whatever it might be,” said 27-year-old Scarratt, who is among those likely to land a sevens deal and also be involved in next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
“But I would certainly like to end my career playing fifteens. You want to send people out on top.
“I don’t think anyone has announced anything official yet, but whether it is now or in a year’s time, people will be stepping away. Some of our old birds won’t go on to do four more years. It is gutting.
“I will go on a holiday somewhere, have a rest, eat a bit too much, drink a bit too much and put my feet up and see what happens when I come back.”
England led 17-10 at half-time in their pursuit of a successful title defence, but the second 40 minutes proved a totally different story as New Zealand dominated.
“They kept the ball a lot better than we did, and it is really hard to play rugby when you don’t have the ball,” Scarratt added.
“Every time we gathered under the posts when they scored a try, we were saying exactly the right things. We knew how to fix it, but knowing how to fix it and then actually doing that are two quite different things.
“Having won one (World Cup), you certainly have a hell of a lot of hunger to win another one, and having lost one, you have a hell of a lot of hunger to try and avoid that again.
“When you have a loss like this, you feel a bit empty. We came to this tournament with a very specific goal, which was to come away with the trophy.
“The second half was really tough. They kept the ball really well, and when you have got a side as talented as that constantly on the front foot, it is extremely hard work.”