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Sarah Beckett relishing Six Nations return after overcoming injury nightmare

Beckett had feared her career may be over due to a persistent knee injury

Matt Wright
Wednesday 23 March 2022 15:16 GMT
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Sarah Beckett is tackled in England training in 2020
Sarah Beckett is tackled in England training in 2020 (Getty Images)

Sarah Beckett is getting ready for a return to the TikTok Women’s Six Nations that at one stage she feared might never happen.

Prior to her comeback at the start of November, the Liverpool star had only been able to play in five games over the space of a year due to a persistent knee injury that her club, Harlequins, struggled to get to the bottom of.

Eventually, the 23-year-old underwent surgery last summer but there were some very tough times where she wondered if she would ever be back to full fitness.

Having been forced to miss last year’s Championship, she quickly earned a recall into Simon Middleton’s squad last autumn, which proved to be a very successful one for the Red Roses.

And with better days ahead of her, Beckett said: “I feared that I may not play rugby again, to be honest.

“I got to a point where I wasn’t motivated to go to rehab and stuff because I didn’t feel like it was working.

“It just put the whole thing in perspective and what you work for, but I’ve never been happier playing rugby than I am at the moment.

“I’m so glad to be back in with the squad and I’m just enjoying my rugby again, but it definitely made me have a good long look at what the future holds and what injuries can do in this career.

“The support that I received really helped me through and I’m just happy that I’m back playing for my club and my country, I just can’t wait to get involved with the girls.”

Beckett’s first involvement in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations came in 2019, the first of three Championships in a row to have been one by England up to the present day.

The Championship this year is set to receive more exposure than ever, thanks to new broadcasting and sponsorship agreements, which Beckett feels will only aid the growth of women’s rugby.

She said: “It’s huge, the broadcasting deal and the sponsorship, with TikTok obviously coming on board.

“I think that will open it up to a wider and younger audience and it will hopefully increase the exposure, which is only a good thing because the product we’re putting out, as six nations, is a great product.

“It’s exciting to be part of the game while it’s growing and the increased TV coverage is great because it opens us up to audiences on live, free [to air] TV.

“You’ll get audiences you’d never be able to get behind a paywall, which is really fantastic.”

First up for England, as they look to retain their Championship again, is a trip to Scotland at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh on Saturday, which is also the first match of the 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

It will bring Beckett, who is effective at both No.8 and flanker, face to face with one of her back-row partners at Harlequins in Jade Konkel, someone she knows will make a formidable opponent.

“I think this year, especially, my relationship with Jade has really flourished both on and off the field,” Beckett said.

“Before, we were probably pitted up against each other and this year we’ve learned really well how to gel with each other.

“She’s going to be a bit of a nightmare to play against at the weekend – I’m fully aware of the risks she poses to us, as an England side.

“I’m hoping to get the better of her, but she’s a tough one to get the better of. She’s just resilient, relentless and she’ll just keep coming at you because she’s big and strong, and fast.

“I actually love playing against people that I know and people I have competition with because I think it just puts you in the best space for that competitiveness, so I can’t wait to come up against her.”

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is more accessible than ever before. To find out how you can watch the Women’s Championship visit: womens.sixnationsrugby.com/tv/

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