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Merchant: Taking nothing for granted

With just 100 days to the start of the World Cup,England women's rugby star Kat Merchant describes her relief at being selected for the World Cup squad. Merchant was on holidays with a number of her team-mates but a nervous wait turned into a celebration as all five holidaygoers were selected. She says she's planning to enjoy her final 10 days of rest before a gruelling summer campaign.

By Kat Merchant

As Im sure youll know the England squad for the world cup has been announced. I was actually on holiday with some of the England girls when the news of who had made the final cut came through.

Amy Turner, Rochelle Clark, Fiona Pocock and Rachael Burford and I were all waiting nervously in a Portuguese Cafe, playing cards and drinking coffee, when Burf read out the email on her phone.

I was especially nervous as I had injured myself in one of the last club games of the season, but a wave of relief and excitement came over all of us when Burf confirmed that we had all made the squad.

Instantly, I felt really emotional but quickly my thoughts went to my close friends, who are amazing rugby players but werent selected - Katy Storie, Sam Reeve, Karen Jones, Kim Oliver and Michaela Staniford. For such quality players not to be selected it really sunk in what a special squad we must have.

The five of us then spent ages trying to self time a photo of all of us jumping in the air - yes it took what seemed like forever until Turner worked out the beep squat jump routine.

Now that the squad has been chosen we can all focus on the journey ahead. We've been on our rest period since April 18th (the last club game) and with the slight disruption of fitness testing one weekend, training will start on May 18th.

Rest periods are great, although as athletes you can never just do nothing!

I could tell I was on holiday with the England girls as on the very first day they got up early and went for a run. I joined in with some one armed circuits by the pool on the second day. But the holiday wasn't all training. There was lots of table tennis, sun bathing, the occasional micky taking of Cocky (Fiona) and amazing barbeques with Holiday Dad Amy T.

I'm certainly going to enjoy my last ten days of rest before it all starts on May 18th with horrible high intensity sessions, knackering repeated speed sessions and hard core weights.

Really though I can't wait as I know it's the start of our world cup campaign and if we put the work in individually before we meet for camps in July then we can focus on team play and becoming better as a squad. Bring on the World Cup 2010!

*In 2009, Kat Merchant played at the San Diego 7s and World Cup 7s as well as the 6 Nations and Nations Cup. This year she as part of England's Grand Slam winning 6 Nations team. She has been capped 26 times at full international level.

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