For the first time since last July, England’s women will take to the field in international competition at this weekend’s 2018 Home Internationals in Edinburgh.
Since Team England’s bronze medal at the 2017 Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup, the work has continued behind the scenes at squad profiling days and training weekends and the squad are ready and raring to get back into action.
Phil Collier, has continued in his role as National Team Director, being tasked to lead the senior squad through to the 2021 World Cup after guiding the team last summer and he is now looking forward to the renewing rivalries and testing the squad against the Home Nations.
“We’re all really looking forward to this year’s tournament,” Collier said.
“First and foremost they are always tough games when we play our UK rivals.”
Scotland and Wales finished 5th and 7th respectively at last year’s World Cup and Collier is expecting tough competition once again.
“Congratulations are due to Scotland for their successful campaign last summer, and we know that Wales have a new Head Coach, who I’m sure will be wanting to make his mark at this year’s Home Internationals.”
A new year and a new world cup cycle also presents lots of opportunities for a fresh outlook on the programme with only seven players from the World Cup squad part of the ‘A’ squad at Home Internationals.
“We have lots of exciting young players coming through and challenging for places in the team at every position.
“Ten members of this squad are under 23. Although, we’ve selected just seven players from last year’s World Cup team, the HI squad includes twelve players from the World Cup training Squad and seven players who represented GB at last year’s World Games.
“There’s an excellent mix of youth and experience in our team, and we hope to show, through the quality of our performances, the strength and continuity of our National Squad system”.
And in addition to some new playing personnel, Collier has also taken the opportunity to refresh some members of the coaching staff in order to continue to build on the progress made in the last few years.
“Learning from the World Cup, there are a number of areas in terms of player development and playing strategy, where we can and need to improve, and so it was important to freshen things up on the coaching side to help address those.”
“These are still early days for the new team, but it will be interesting to see how things go at our first competitive tournament this coming weekend,” Collier added.
As well as getting to grips with a new coaching setup, there will also be an interesting challenge for not only Team England but all of the competing teams as the Home Internationals tournament is played under the FIL Trial Rules proposed at the FIL General Assembly back in July.
In amongst other changes, such as a self-start rule, the biggest obvious change is the move to a 10 aside game.
However, Collier is supportive of the trial rules and believes that the changes may work to his team’s advantage at the weekend.
“I believe our game will benefit from the extra space available on the field.
“The game of lacrosse is speeding up, and players at the top level need to be able to think quickly and execute skills under pressure, as well as being good athletes.
“I think we might see higher scoring games in the first instance as teams’ defences adjust to the new rules.
Team England will have five squads competing at Home Internationals this weekend with two senior and three junior teams taking part, illustrating the depth of talent coming through the women’s system.
England A squad Fixtures
Sat 7 April – 15:00 England v Wales
Sun 8 April – 15:00 England v Scotland
The full schedule across the weekend can be found HERE
Tickets can also be purchased in advance HERE