Marlie Packer, England captain: “France are an excellent team”
“What is your state of mind before this “final” of the Six Nations Tournament, while…
“What is your state of mind before this “final” of the Six Nations Tournament, while you remain on a series of 11 straight victories against France?
We are focused on giving the best possible performance. We are aware that the French team has made a lot of progress during this Tournament. We too have evolved since the World Cup last year. We don’t think about this series of victories, we simply concentrate on being up to the challenge both physically and mentally.
“We are going to play at home, it’s a huge advantage for us”
Do you think you have gained a psychological advantage over Les Bleues?
I do not think so. We have been playing against the French for a long time. The two teams know each other very well now. I don’t ask myself the question of whether we have taken an ascendancy. We focus more on how we are going to play to try to beat them on Saturday. France are an excellent team. But we are going to play at home and it is a huge advantage for us, especially in front of the crowd that awaits us on Saturday at Twickenham.
Precisely, the attendance record for a women’s rugby match will be beaten. What does it mean to play in front of more than 50,000 spectators?
It will be very special. I had never dreamed of playing in front of so many people. I can not wait to be there. We will have to be in a good mental state before this event, that we keep a positive state of mind to obtain a result.
The defeat in the World Cup final (34-31 v New Zealandlast November 12) is it digested?
Of course, there is always frustration with this final. But today is a new England team, a new era. We made a fresh start. The Tournament is a very special competition that any player wants to play. We want to take the disappointment of the World Cup out of our minds and focus on this new opportunity to win a trophy. And then, women’s rugby is growing. The gap between the nations is narrowing and the crowd present on Saturday at Twickenham shows the interest shown in us, even more so since the last World Cup.
“Jessy Trémoulière is a legend of this game”
Marlie Packer, England captain
Is it important for the group to bid a nice farewell to your manager, Simon Middleton, who will step down after Saturday’s game?
Absolutely, we can’t do better than winning the Six Nations Tournament to bid a nice farewell to Simon Middleton (England coach since 2014). Her work has been so important and beneficial to English women’s rugby. We are sad that he is leaving, we will miss him. It’s going to be a very emotional weekend.
On the French side, it will also be the last match for Jessy Trémoulière. What does it represent for you, in England?
She’s an exceptional player, she was named Player of the Decade a while back. Seeing her retire on a match of this magnitude, to play for victory in the Six Nations Tournament, is incredible. He’s a legend of this game.”