In her second BBC Sport column of the 2021 Women’s Six Nations, England prop Shaunagh Brown explains why she is not worried about their final and how she will be spending her time off.
We were not happy with our start against Italy on Saturday, but I am not worried about how we will play in the Women’s Six Nations final.
As an England team, we rise to an occasion and this is a big one. We have never had a Women’s Six Nations final before.
The format of the tournament changed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, so instead of a round-robin system, we played two pool matches and qualified for the final with our win in Italy.
We will not learn who our final opponents will be until Ireland face France next Saturday, then the final is on BBC Two on 24 April.
But it does not matter which of those teams we play. The heart, emotion, pride, creativity and energy required to win – the things you cannot necessarily coach – are in us as individuals.
‘I want to keep the final, but with more games’
For the sense of occasion, I like the fact that we have a final this year, but we are playing two fewer games than normal in the tournament and as an international team you always need more matches.
Before, people thought England’s game against France was the decider but this time the final is genuinely the decider, no matter who is in it.
It is now officially an occasion. If you are going to watch one game in the Six Nations, it is the final.
In the future, I would like to see a hybrid of this new Women’s Six Nations format and the original one – so you would play games in a league and then there would be play-offs, like in the men’s and women’s Premiership.
I wonder if there is something we could do like that where we get more games in but still have a final.
‘I am using my time off to fix a hot tub’
We have been playing in a coronavirus bubble and, because we do not have a game until the final, we will now isolate at home until Thursday.
We are not used to having rest like this in the middle of a tournament but it is very much welcome.
I live with my family and my brother Kyle has already suggested a project to keep me entertained while I am off.
On the morning of the Italy game – I am not sure he even realised I was playing that afternoon – he messaged me about refurbishing a hot tub.
He found it online and said it partly works so we could just fix it and have a new hot tub in the garden. I was like: “Sure, let me just play Italy in the Six Nations then we can do that.”
I am not the kind of person who completely has to focus on matchday so I don’t mind talking about things like that.
If the hot tub does not work out, I still have plenty to keep me busy. I will be taking up old carpet because we are redecorating and planting fresh grass seed in the garden.
‘Our training with Wales will get feisty’
Because we have no match this weekend, we have a training day against Wales on Saturday and I am expecting that to get a bit feisty.
It will be a chance for both squads to develop and for players who have been training but have not played in the tournament yet to get some game time.
Even if it is a training day, we are still going to be in competition. We will feel we need to dominate carries and tackles, steal the ball in the line-out and the scrum.
It will be training in name but in terms of performance it will be about winning. It would not surprise me if there were still a lot of hurt bodies at the end of it as with any game of rugby.
We were not happy with our performance against Italy. It was not the brand of rugby we like to pride ourselves on, which is clinical and organised.
We are normally much more of an organised team and our handling error numbers are low. We were knocking the ball on and losing it in contact, which is uncharacteristic.
There are no magic solutions so we will just have to keep training. In the second half against Italy, we scored seven tries and showed we could do it.
We are not always going to dominate teams all the time. It is a good lesson in the year before a World Cup. We just have to plough on.
Shaunagh Brown was speaking to BBC Sport’s Becky Grey.