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Turner eyeing the big prize

With the Women’s Rugby World Cup just around the corner Kate Llewellyn-Waters puts the questions to England and Richmond scrum-half Amy Turner. The number 9 tells us what scrum-halves she admires most, her favourite rugby moment and has some time to share an embarrassing story about her skipper Catherine Spencer!

KLW: Seeded second behind current title holders New Zealand. How do you rate your chances in the World Cup having been Runners up for the last 3 tournaments?

Amy Turner: "I truly believe we can do it as long as we are clinical in everything we do. We have got as good a chance as any. We are going to be playing here in England, in front of a home crowd who believe in us and that will make a difference. Its such an incredibly special occasion. We have come into camp and have had a lot of time together as a squad, which is great for our confidence. We have had 6 week pre season training and then have 50 days of camp training before we go into the World Cup."

KLW: What are Englands strengths?

Amy Turner: "Mental determination is definitely one. We are most dangerous in the last 20 minutes of the game. But, I think our main strength is attention to detail. There is so much attention to detail in the England camp from prehab every morning to ice baths after every session. The coaching and medical staff put in so much attention to detail. Preparation and attitude is a massive strength of ours."

KLW: This is your second World Cup campaign how do they both compare?

Amy Turner:" In this campaign I feel everyone is more in it together and probably because Im older I feel more involved this time round. There is a really good feeling in camp and it definitely wants me to work harder for everyone. A lot of the girls know each other really well now as we have played together for such a long time and there is a real camaraderie."

KLW: So there must be a lot of banter in the England squad?

Amy Turner: "In the army training camp in the Brecon Beacons we did there was so much banter. We did a sleep deprivation exercise where in 30 hours we had 3.5 hours sleep. They really put us through our paces to see how far we can be pushed. We were all exhausted, the food rations were tiny but the banter is probably the most important thing that gets you through it. You try and have a laugh; youre all in the same boat. It was good fun, we went on night patrols and got to chase and shoot the enemy around in the dark."

KLW: Originally a hooker why did you move into being a scrum half?

Amy Turner:" I started at Rosslyn Park when I was 16 and when our scrum half was injured they asked me to step in as scrum half I jumped at it I was 16 years old and just really wanted to play. I like scrum half as its a position you can make your own. Your can be snipey and link with the backs or act as an extra flanker. You have a blank canvas and as long as your passing is consistent you have a licence to do what you like."

KLW: You commented that the 2nd Test against New Zealand in 2005 that you enjoyed the style of rugby played during that test. What made it so special?

Amy Turner: "It was the first game where the forwards and backs linked so we played this total off loading game. Thats the rugby I like and I was lucky enough to score a try. But I came back battered. I had a broken hand but I carried on playing the game with it broken. My head was split open so they put some Vaseline on it to stem the bleeding and carried on with the game. Then they stitched it up after the game. Bit of a shock to the system but it shows you the intensity and contact in international rugby regardless of it being the men or womens game. This is why the conditioning training we do is so good because it toughens you up to play as hard as you can.

KLW: Which scrumhalves do you admire?

Amy Turner: Pichot what a champagne rugby player, Matt Dawson (when I was younger), Sue Day but most of all Jo Yapp. She is such an inspiration and I have learnt so much from her how to be on and off the pitch. Definitely the most respect I have for a scrum half is for Yapp. As a role model shes the most influential person in my career. Shes humble, strived for excellence and pushed herself to be the best and she was.

KLW: What has been your career highlight to date?

Amy Turner: Scoring against New Zealand in 2005 and beating them at Twickenham in 2009. Also recently when we beat France in the Six Nations, which was played in France a lot of players showed incredible character during that game. We took it to the wire and at 10-11 it showed how mentally tough we actually are. As a squad were up there in mental determination

KLW: What is the funniest thing you have ever seen or heard on a rugby pitch?

Amy Turner: "When we played a practice game recently Catherine Spencer our serene captain ran into contact and her shorts came down. She was mortified about it and that made it even funnier! The jokers are definitely Heather Fisher, Katie Mclean and Danielle Waterman theyre the ones on the England team you need to look out for not me!"