Six Nations Double Header, 16 March 2018
A Coventry school teacher is looking to help England Women edge a step closer to their tenth Women’s Six Nations title this weekend, if selected in the match day 23.
Charlotte Pearce has been granted leave this week from her role as a PE teacher at Whitley Academy as she prepares to cross the English Channel for a crunch clash with France on Saturday, March 10 (kick-off 8pm).
Both sides currently sit joint top of the Women’s Six Nations table with three wins from three with just two games to go.
Victory for England this weekend would put them in the driving seat for the tournament’s grand finale, knowing anything but a defeat against Ireland Women at the Ricoh Arena on Friday, March 16 (5.30pm kick-off) will see them retain the Women’s Six Nations silverware.
It’s been a whirlwind period for Loughborough Lightning winger Pearce, who has grown into the tournament after making her international debut from the bench in the 7-42 win over Italy, before starting against Wales and scoring two tries in the side’s 8-43 victory against Scotland in round three.
Following a bright start, Pearce and her Red Roses team-mates are under no illusions of what lies ahead on French soil.
The 24-year-old said: “I’m expecting a really fast and clinical game. France will have no problem spreading the ball out wide, so we need to make sure we are really focused and our defensive line communicates well.
“They are very physical and whoever is in front of us on the pitch won’t make life easy, but we’ll be making sure we return the challenge.
“I am one of many new faces in this new-look England team which has gelled together really well, and that has shown in our results.
“That said, we have to treat every game in isolation and forget about what has gone before, so there will be no complacency about any of the games we head into.”
Following her two tries in England Women’s last Six Nations match against Scotland, Pearce is knocking on the door for another start against France and, if all goes well, against Ireland at the Ricoh Arena in front of her family and friends.
Pearce added: “I was chuffed to score for my country, but hopefully it’s just the start as I know I need to improve on some of my decision-making with and without the ball.
“Everybody has been fantastic welcoming me into the squad. I look up to players such as Danielle Waterman, Rachel Burford and Sarah Hunter who have been really helpful – there’s the perfect balance of being serious with each other but having a laugh as well.
“The most important thing for now is to ensure we return from France with maximum points, but of course, walking out at the Ricoh Arena would be an amazing experience, if selected, as I know a lot of people – including family, friends and school pupils – who are going along to the game.”
Tickets for the Six Nations double-header at the Ricoh Arena on Friday, March 16 between England Women and Ireland Women (5.30pm kick-off) and England U20s versus Ireland U20s (8pm kick-off) are £10 for adults for both games, and can be purchased from www.eticketing.co.uk/ricoharena