Evergreen Emily Scarratt will feel no pressure as one of the headline acts at the Rugby World Cup, according to Red Roses legend Maggie Alphonsi.

The Leicester star has been named vice-captain in Simon Middleton’s squad, who kick off their World Cup campaign on Saturday against minnows Fiji.

Scarratt’s experience will be key if the Red Roses are to deliver on their tag as favourites, the 32-year-old having been part of the team which tasted victory in France in 2014.

The centre kicked impeccably from the tee as England edged out Canada in the final eight years ago, also crossing for the match-winning score in the closing stages.

And Alphonsi believes Scarratt will relish the chance to play on the world stage again, with this her fourth tournament appearance.

“When I used to play alongside her, I don’t think anything fazed her,” said Alphonsi.

“Back in 2014, she was the top points scorer in that final. Most people would struggle to get some of the kicks she got but she got them.

“That shows just how calm and composed she is. Emily does not steer away from pressure; she was born with pressure on her shoulders and is able to not let it phase her. I can’t really say how important that is to have in a team member.

“I know that going into this World Cup, she won’t see it as pressure, she will see it as something she has been working towards for a very long time and wants to bring that England team through to the final and hopefully win that trophy.”

Earlier in the year, Scarratt missed England’s Six Nations decider against France after suffering a rib injury against Ireland.

That came after a prolonged spell on the sidelines as the 32-year-old underwent surgery for a broken leg in the autumn of 2021.

But she looks back to her best ahead of the delayed Rugby World Cup, and Alphonsi says she will be one player that opposing teams will be desperate to stop.

“She is on form, as we would expect from someone of her quality and ability,” said Alphonsi, who was meeting with women and girls who play for National Lottery-supported Haringey Rhinos RFC, to see for herself how National Lottery funding is having a positive impact on female participation at the club.

“She’s going to want to, who knows, finish potentially on a high.

“I’m not saying she’s going to retire yet but finish her career with a World Cup win.

“I just love watching her play, not just for what she does on the pitch, but what she does off the pitch.

“She’s a true leader and she galvanises players around her. With the likes of Sarah Hunter, another experienced player alongside her, I feel like it brings the best out of the younger players.

“Lots of players, when they play against her, like to target her.

“She is such a danger, always cuts ruthless lines, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does out in New Zealand.”

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