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England shaken and stirred into action by Guscoth blow

UK Sport | Published:

Guscoth ruptured her Achilles tendon against Scotland on Saturday,

England coach Tracey Neville praised her players for responding to the “heart-breaking” loss of Layla Guscoth due to injury as they cruised past Samoa at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

Guscoth, who suffered a ruptured Achilles against Scotland on Saturday which has ruled her out of the rest of the tournament, watched from the bench as her team-mates ended the preliminary phase with a processional 90-24 win.

Neville admitted the loss of the popular Guscoth had hit the team hard, saying: “Of course there were tears from everyone. There was nothing wrong with showing emotion because she means a lot to us.

“Layla touches the heart of everyone in the group. She is one of the biggest personalities and influencers. I think if we hadn’t shared that emotion I would have been really worried within the group.”

Guscoth was rushed back from a hospital scan in order to sit on the sidelines in Liverpool, as Neville continued her rotation policy ahead of the much tougher second phase of the tournament ahead.

Having scored from 39 consecutive goal attempts, Jo Harten was rested for much of the third quarter with Rachel Dunn once again stepping in for the second part of the match, and Jade Clarke promoted in Guscoth’s absence to starter at wing defence.

Tracey Neville
Tracey Neville said her team were upset at the loss of Layla Guscoth (Martin Rickett/PA)

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Having also brushed aside Uganda and Scotland in front of a sell-out home arena, there is a real sense of the England team gaining momentum, encapsulated by the return to prominence of the 35-year-old Clarke.

Playing in her fifth World Cup, Clarke, who made her international debut in 2002, can expect to feature more prominently in the competition but she insisted thoughts for Guscoth would not stray far from her mind.

Jade Clarke
Jade Clarke is relishing the prospect of tougher tests ahead (Nigel French/PA)

“We haven’t looked far forward in the competition but for us, the tougher games the better. If we’re going to be world champions we need to beat everybody so that’s how we’re looking at it.”

England were due to discover later on Sunday who they would face in their first second-round match on Monday. They are also projected to play on Wednesday and Thursday as they target a place in the semi-finals.

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