Ellie Downie has urged England’s players to enjoy the pressure of playing in the Rugby World Cup knockout phase.
England will play Australia on Sunday having qualified for the quarter-finals by beating Fiji, France and South Africa to top of Pool C and finish as third seeds overall.
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The Red Roses are currently on a 28-match winning run and are many people’s favourites to win a third Rugby World Cup title at Eden Park on 12 November.
That brings with it a certain expectation but gymnast Downie, who appeared on this week’s episode of the RWC 2021 Breakfast Party, does not think that is necessarily a bad thing.
“I kind of thrive off pressure, I always like the thought of people thinking I can’t do it, so I wanna prove them wrong,” she said.
“I guess just try and soak in the atmosphere, really. People are there to support them, everyone wants them to do well so just try and enjoy it.”
Downie is hopeful that England can beat Australia at Waitakere Stadium on Sunday and go all the way in New Zealand.
Coming less than four months after the country’s footballers won Euro 2022, she believes it could have a positive impact on women’s sport at home.
“I think it would be huge for sport in England,” Downie added.
“The Lionesses have done an amazing job so for the rugby girls to go and do the same at the World Cup would be amazing.”