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Chelsea Pitman

Image: Ben Lumley

Chelsea Pitman insisted London Pulse’s core will be key for England to unlock their gold medal potential at the World Cup. 

The 2018 Commonwealth gold medallist won the competition in 2011 with Australia before switching her allegiances to England in 2017. 

Pitman is one of four Pulse players in the 12-strong squad for South Africa and she believes the connections within the club will prove crucial on an international stage. 

She said: “It’s amazing that we’ve got those connections already. 

“We’ve had an opportunity to play a season and knot out the intricacies of how each other plays so we’re not hitting the ground from zero. 

“We have our foundations set and now it’s about linking in with the other girls in the team. 

“That’s the beauty of the Roses at the moment, we’ve got fresh legs, fresh people but as well we’ve got girls from other clubs that are coming in so that sets us in good stead to have a successful World Cup campaign.

“When it comes time to perform, we’ll make sure we’re at our best because our best is gold medal potential.” 

After losing out 58-47 to Loughborough Lightning in a scintillating Grand Final, Pitman still has one eye on next season with her club. 

The wing attack — who returned to the Super League from Australia ahead of the season— maintained her ambitions for the young squad. 

She said: “I’m devastated because you want to win those things. 

“We’ve got such a sense of pride for what we’ve achieved this season and it won’t be the first or last time we see Pulse in a finals position. 

“Next time hopefully we’ve all learnt as a collective to make sure we’re on the other end of the stick. 

“It’s been so fun, our season’s been extremely consistent, we’ve had girls that haven’t played at this level become some of the best players in the league. 

“Berri Neil has had a stand-out season and for me to have the opportunity to play with such a young fresh talent is a privilege. 

“I just hope we can keep this core group together and see what we can do in the season moving forward.” 

Pitman has spent the season playing alongside Funmi Fadoju, Olivia Tchine and Jade Clarke who all form part of the Roses squad, while Halimat Adio joins as a travelling reserve. 

Jess Thirlby’s squad begin their campaign on 28 July in Cape Town where they face Barbados in the group stage. 

“We’ve got nine days off before we head into camp and we’re heading into hub stuff, so we’ve got training throughout before we all head together as a team,” she said. 

“I’ll make sure that I rest, recover and mentally switch off because it’s not very often that you get a week off before a World Cup. 

“I know that my body needs it and mentally I need it so I can put my best foot forward for England.”

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