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Women’s Six Nations: England’s Emily Scarratt finds positives in new Women’s Six Nations format

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Emily Scarratt captained England to a 52-10 win against Scotland on Saturday
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma Date: Saturday 10 April Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Watch live on BBC iPlayer; follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

England centre Emily Scarratt says having a final in this year’s reformatted Women’s Six Nations could help the side’s World Cup preparations.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, teams will have two pool games and a final rather than playing all of the other five teams.

Covid-19 also forced the postponement of the World Cup until 2022.

“You do not get a final very often in our calendar,” Scarratt told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby Union Weekly.

The 31-year-old – who captained England to a 52-10 win against Scotland on Saturday in the absence of Sarah Hunter – added that she “was not sure” about the new format initially.

“I am a traditionalist. I like the format of playing five games,” she continued.

“But we now get the opportunity to play a final. Sometimes when you get to that moment it is a World Cup and all of a sudden a big deal.”

England’s opening victory puts them top of Pool A with a game in Italy to come on Saturday.

After France’s dominant 53-0 defeat of Wales in Pool B, all signs currently point to a final between England and Les Bleues, to be shown live on BBC Two on 24 April.

Aside from the benefits of a final, Scarratt is glad that the Women’s Six Nations is taking place in a different window to the men’s tournament.

“We’re not having to compete with men’s kick-off times or a load of people watching the [men’s] game at Twickenham and a much lower percentage watching the [women’s] game at the Stoop,” she explained.

“That is the exciting bit for me. It would be great to have crowds to quantify what that would look like but at the same time it is really important for us to stand on our own two feet this time around.”

‘I forgot to tell my parents I was England captain’

With regular skipper Hunter continuing her return from a hamstring strain, Scarratt took on the captaincy against Scotland.

It is a role she has stepped into several times before and the Loughborough centre said the experience was “different” without crowds.

Scarratt added that it was a “massive honour”, before admitting she had forgotten to warn her family it was coming.

She said: “I forgot to tell my parents I was captain this weekend and they messaged with a rolly-eye emoji like, ‘congrats’.”

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