Clapp relishing World Cup experience
Premier15s winning captain Lotte Clapp is currently enjoying the experience of a lifetime at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, with her USA side.
After a victory against Japan last weekend, her side are now firmly back in the hunt for a quarter-final berth, ahead of a huge clash with North American rivals Canada this weekend.
For Clapp, this is her first taste of world cup rugby. Despite winning multiple Premier15s titles with Saracens, the wing admitted that her experience in New Zealand so far had been fantastic, with fans embracing the tournament everywhere she has been.
"It’s been amazing. Everywhere we’ve gone there have been people seeing the World Cup branding on the bus and cheering and then seeing all the billboards as well, it’s just been fantastic."
It hasn't just been the local support that Clapp has been relishing however, with the side visiting a number of stunning locations during their rest days.
"Going out and seeing New Zealand itself has been amazing," explained Clapp.
"We went to Whangārei and to a place called Whale Cove which had amazing beaches. Everybody has been enjoying being out here."
Whilst the time off the field has been filled with new experiences, it has been full focus on the field for Clapp and her teammates.
A defeat to Italy in the opening match meant the pressure was on heading into last weekend's clash with a dangerous Japanese side. Whilst the USA trailed at halftime, they rallied in the second half, in an inspired performance that was led by former Saracen Alev Kelter.
Clapp came off the bench in that match and admitted that there were some nerves in the camp ahead of kick-off.
"It wasn’t the start that we wanted against Italy, and we knew we could be better than we put out on the field. There was a lot of pressure going into that game with Italy for sure. For us, we knew that we had to focus on ourselves and win that game. To get that victory was massive for us."
Whilst results elsewhere could potentially confirm the USA's place in the quarterfinals, they know that a victory over Canada will guarantee their spot in the last eight.
A mouth-watering clash against tournament hosts and reigning champions New Zealand could await the side, but Clapp was quick to highlight that the side are taking it "one game at a time."
"We’re only focusing on the next match and for us that’s Canada. There’s been a lot of recent games between the two sides, so we all know each other well. We’re confident we can put our best performance on the field this weekend."
Whilst Canada hold the upper hand in recent fixtures between the countries, Clapp is confident in the ability of her side and what they can produce come kick-off.
"We know that Canada have won the last few matches, but we're confident in what we can produce. We're as prepared as we can be for this weekend."