The Red Roses may have just downed New Zealand at Sandy Park but prop Vickii Cornborough has warned her England team-mates to underestimate Canada at their peril.
England are in fine form this Autumn, flying high as the No.1 side in the World Rugby rankings, and fresh from a 43-12 win over the Black Ferns in October and again 56-15 at Franklins Gardens last weekend.
That win at Franklins Gardens was their biggest ever win over the world champions and sees England in excellent shape ahead of playing Canada at the Twickenham Stoop on 14 November.
The Canadians are ranked the No.3 side in the world, and are packed with world-class talent, including several Allianz Premier 15s players.
“It’s a huge game, if you just look at the stats alone, you look at England, world number one, and Canada are only trailing behind at world number three at the moment,” said Cornborough.
“There are a lot of Canadians at the likes of Exeter Chiefs in the Premier 15s as well, so for me as a prop playing at Harlequins, I get to play them week-in, week-out.
“So, you appreciate what great athletes they are, what great rugby players they are, and it will be a good test for us as England, to see if we back up the performances.”
Cornborough was a member of the 2017 World Cup squad and featured in every game, while she continued her consistency in 2018 – appearing in all five Six Nations games as the Red Roses came second, as well as all three winning Quilter Internationals.
She was awarded a full-time contract in 2019 and played in four of the Six Nations games when the Red Roses won the Grand Slam and she earned her 50th cap against France in the 2020 Six Nations.
With a World Cup on the horizon in 2021, Cornborough is convinced the Autumn Fixtures are crucial in developing a winning mentality and keeping England as the world’s best side – and that means downing Canada in Twickenham.
She said: “I think it’s hugely important to be able to have these international tests where you’re playing the top teams in the world.
“We’re very lucky to have the likes of France on our doorstep, but having international teams coming over like New Zealand, Canada and America and to be able to play in those back-to-back really tough test matches is really great to recreate that intensity and I’m really, really pleased for that to happen.”
Canada will be facing the Red Roses at Twickenham Stoop, a ground that Cornborough knows well from playing for both England and her club Harlequins.
“Before I even played for Harlequins, the Twickenham Stoop for me is the Red Roses’ home ground, I’ve played more test matches at the Twickenham Stoop than I have at Twickenham and for us it’s an amazing stadium, where we really feel the support of the fans around there,” said the 31-year-old.
“It’s my home ground and I’m really excited to go back home and be able to see what we can do.
“It’s got such a good buzz about the stadium, and we saw what it was like at Sandy Park, just the effect of the supporters on the way that we played and how they got behind us and how they helped with the momentum of the game, just keeping on top of the Black Ferns.
“To be able to recreate that against Canada at the Twickenham Stoop is going to be amazing and I’m really looking forward to it.”
England Women take on Canada in their third autumn international at Twickenham Stoop, home of Harlequins (Sunday, 14 November, kick-off 2.30pm). To watch the action visit //englandrugby.com/tickets
Featured image credit: REUTERS/Matthew Childs