England’s record-breaking star Kay Wilson believes her side’s total domination of this year’s Six Nations will stand them in good stead as they prepare to defend their rugby World Cup title later this year.
Aside from the first half in their opener against France, England looked a class above their opposition, scoring a momentous 36 tries and 216 points across their five games.
The two-time world champions were desperate to make sure they didn’t repeat last year’s excruciating disappointment, missing out on their first Six Nations title since 2012 on points difference after falling to France in their final game.
And avoid that they did, cruising to a 34-7 win over Ireland in their final game to secure the title after putting more than 60 points past both Wales and Scotland earlier in the tournament.
For Wilson, a member of the victorious 2014 World Cup team, winning the Six Nations title was crucial to ensure the team was in the best possible place heading into this year’s tournament in Ireland.
“It was amazing to win, it’s really cool,” the Richmond winger said.
“We knew it was going to be tough playing Ireland away but it was a really great game to play in and because it was St Patrick’s Day as well the whole occasion was really special.
“We’ve missed out quite a few times in the past few years and I think we’re a little bit sick of coming second best – we want to come first, we want to be the best team that we can be and we knew we could win it.
“We just wanted to go out and prove that to ourselves more than anything but we did use last year as inspiration and that just made it even more special.
“The focus now goes towards the World Cup and this is a great stepping stone for us and will create a lot of confidence throughout the team knowing that we can go and retain that.”
Despite not featuring in the first two games, this will be a tournament Wilson will forever be remembered for after scoring a staggering seven tries in just one game against Scotland — a new Six Nations record.
That, coupled with a try the week before against Italy, meant that Wilson finished as the tournament’s top try scorer and second highest overall points scorer behind Emily Scarratt.
While elated at achieving such a record, the speedster was just happy to have taken her chance to return to the squad, although that was not her main focus while in the process of running the Scots ragged.
“I was obviously gutted not to be playing the first two games but I was really fortunate to stay in for the last three,” the 25-year-old explained.
“Throughout the squad the competition for places is so high and that’s what is raising the standard of our game as well. For me personally it was a great experience.
“During the Scotland game I was actually more concerned that I was scoring a lot of my tries out wide which meant that Emily Scarratt had some really difficult kicks.
“Emily definitely made a few comments about that, although it was more after the game where she gave me a bit of grief. But we’re good friends so she forgave me!”
During the tournament, the RFU also announced plans for a major revamp of the domestic game, with the creation of a new Super League starting this September, as they push to increase the number of females playing the game in England up to and beyond 50,000.
The new league will replace the current Premiership, expanding the number of teams competing from eight to ten, and comes just months after 48 players were handed professional contracts for the first time in the country’s history.
Add into the mix that the World Cup is set to be broadcast live and free-to-air on ITV and it could not be a more exciting time for women’s rugby, something which Wilson recognises and believes could have a stratospheric impact on the sport.
“It’s absolutely massive that ITV will be showing the World Cup,” she enthused.
“We want to show the would what our game is about and what we can do and we want to inspire boys and girls to play rugby.
“The RFU have been fantastic in supporting us and the fact now that we can show people all over the world exactly what we do is great.
“Women’s rugby is growing bigger and bigger and the fact that people want to invest and make a Super League as well is just fantastic.
“It’s so exciting for women’s rugby and it’s great that we’ve got clubs that are wanting to support us and are helping to grow the game as well.”