Now is the time for England to march on from their developmental stage and deliver, these were the overarching messages from the men in charge at the first squad announcement of the year just 14 days ago. In last year's RBS 6 Nations England matured greatly and to be true contenders come September that is what they will need to do again this year.
Yesterday it was announced that Stuart Lancaster and his core team, Andy Farrell, Mike Catt and Graham Rowntree have all had their contracts extended until the 2019/2020 season. When he made this announcement, the Chairman of the RFU, Ian Richie, used the following words; "we believe this is entirely the right decision for the future of England Rugby" and I have to say I totally agree with him and here is why.
As we head towards our first anniversary, Sportswomen returned to the all new Sky Sports News HQ studio for a third series today at the new time of 11.30am. This series of the show promises to showcase the very best in women's' sport and there couldn't be a better time for us to return! This summer produced some of the best ever results in women's sport and we're excited to be able to celebrate key successes.
England under Stuart Lancaster seem to be building something special (though we've been saying that for over two years now) but they haven't got a Six Nations title or currently a consistent record against the Sanzar nations. Yet they have provided moments and performances that suggest they could challenge in the long run or if the stars align next year.
As I sat there watching the last few seconds tick ever closer to confirming England's place a-top of the Women's Rugby Union World, I asked, we aren't that bad at sport are we? ... we are actually in a golden period for British sport. If you go through the most popular sports in the UK, you will find we have world beaters everywhere, including football.
England Champions of the World, England Women World Cup Champions, England Women World Cup Winners, however you choose to phrase it, we will never tire of hearing it... this Women's Rugby World Cup catapults the sport forward in the UK and across the world and leaves a legacy that changes the Women's Rugby, for the better, forever.
England's depth of talent has deepened to a point where in every position there are at least two or even three truly viable options... if England make the same amount of progression that they have done since this time last year then there is no reason why they won't head into the World Cup confident and fully ready.
England will face Ireland in the Women's Rugby World Cup semi-final on Wednesday 13 August. Some might brush off Ireland and predict an easy English victory, however with the unpredictable twists and turns the tournament has taken so far, it won't be so black and white with who proceeds to the final on Sunday 17 August.
England have featured in 5 of the 6 tightly contested Women's Rugby World Cup finals since its inauguration in 1991, being named champions just once in 1994... England haven't had a very happy summer of sport, and England Women's Rugby stand a good chance at grasping international glory in the coming weeks.