Four tries from Red Roses Claudia MacDonald tops RWC try-scoring charts

Red Roses Claudia MacDonald top the RWC2021 try-scoring charts

Topping the try-scoring charts, England Red Roses Claudia MacDonald played out of her skin in her team’s opening Rugby World Cup 2021 campaign.

With a huge 84-19 win over Fiji, MacDonald was one of several English players that crossed for multiple tries. Many other Internationals did likewise across the opening day at Eden Park Rugby World Cup 2021, and up in Whangarei for the second day of week one. Yet the Durham University player was still humble about her input on Saturday afternoon.

Interviewed exclusively by Last Word on Rugby, MacDonald was very satisfied with the outcome for the team, and personally. Speaking about her first five-pointer, she said “It was pretty cool. Yeah obviously on the end of a pretty nice pass, and a great maul from our forwards. They showed strength and dominance up front. Just lucky to get on the end of it I guess”. And that was only in the first 10 minutes, as the utility winger/halfback was present in much play over the full 80-minutes.

With being the top seed, the pressure was on England, so playing Fiji could have presented a cakewalk – yet nobody told the Fijiana ladies. They confronted the Red Roses, scoring a try themselves in the first quarter and only being down 24-12 at halftime. Indeed, they had their traditional fans, but you could sense over the second game of the day, how neutral fans backed the Fijian women’s enthusiasm and daring style of play.

Claudia MacDonald commended the challenge of play, saying “it’s just about getting more exposure, more experiences. A different environment, and different ways teams play. Fiji threw out some things today that we had to solve. Had to come up with solutions which I think we did today. You saw the difference in the second half to the first half”.

England wouldn’t be entirely pleased, though in an 80-minute clash, winning the match after 35 minutes is never the game plan. The outcome was a 14-try rout, with 10 tries in the second half showing how experience and composure will take the Red Roses further into the tournament, than say a Fiji or a South Africa can.

Four tries from Red Roses Claudia MacDonald tops RWC2021 try scoring charts

In her 21st Test match for England, Claudia MacDonald has shown massive resolve. Her story of recovery from a near career-ending neck injury has amazed both fans and her England squad members. A number of feature articles have been written on the scrum half who has shown great utility to now be thriving on the wing, after such a massive injury. Her thoughts on the recovery were; “it’s just been really tough. It reminds you how much rugby means, and how special it is to walk out onto the pitch.

“I do find it a little extra emotional every time I walk out and singing the national anthem. I just remember how special it is to be here, to be in this environment. To be playing with the incredible athletes I have around me.

“So yeah you have a slightly higher appreciation of it, but more than that its just the drive and desire; I don’t think that has changed, I’m real competitive”.

And fans will have seen that drive on display against Fiji. The sharpness of her attack in the first meat pie. Her second showed her in support to the brilliance of Emily Scarratt. That combination would again bear fruit, as territory allowed for a perfect cross-field kick from Scarratt to set up MacDonald’s hattrick. But it would not end there, as even after a blow to her nose [blood still shown on her English red away kit for this clash against Fiji wearing white]. The description of her final score of this game was best written by a Stuff Sport blog.

‘England shift back to the left wing and the cutout pass opens things up for Macdonald! She steps on the gas and bursts past two, steps infield as she gets to the 22, and then cuts a line through the two defenders inside the 22, as she dives over for try number 4!’

When asked about her own game, her position, and her input, MacDonald summed it up well. “Everything is building isn’t it, everything is working. It’s just about getting more experience, getting more exposure. Learning from every performance. Every time we go out onto the field, we want to be a better version of ourselves. Constantly preparing to be the best version of ourselves when we come to the field.”

With the England side having such an outstanding recent record, and with the skills on display from the likes of Player of the Day Sadia Kabeya, Amy Cockayne,ย  Abigail Dow, Abbie Ward, and the incomparable Sarah Hunter, the Red Roses Claudia MacDonald is a key component in that squad’s ambitions to add a third World Championship crown to their side’s resume in New Zealand.

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Top try scorers at the 2021 Rugby World Cup (two or more tries) after Week One

4 – Claudia MacDonald ENG

3 – Portia Woodman NZL | Emily Tuttosi CAN

2 – Amy Cokayne ENG | Lydia Thompson ENG | Laure Sansus FRA | Bienne Terita AUS | Ruby Tui NZL | Aura Muzzo ITA | Brianna Miller CAN

ย * Portia Woodmanโ€™s hat-trick against Australia saw her become the all-time leading try-scorer in Rugby World Cup history with 16.

 

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