England star Guscoth out of World Cup after rupturing Achilles
The defender suffered the injury in the early stages of England’s dominant victory over Scotland.
England’s comprehensive win over Scotland at the Netball World Cup came at a price as influential defender Layla Guscoth was ruled out for the rest of the tournament through injury.
The Adelaide Thunder player limped off midway through the first quarter of her team’s 70-34 Group D win and was immediately sent to the team hotel for treatment, with England Netball later confirming she had ruptured her Achilles.
“England Netball is sad to announce that Vitality Rose Layla Guscoth has ruptured her Achilles and will take no further part in the Vitality Netball World Cup,” a statement read.
Head coach Tracey Neville expressed her dismay at the news, but said all of the team would rally around the 27-year-old.
“Layla is an amazing addition to our team and we are so disappointed that she won’t be joining us on court for the rest of this tournament,” she said.
“It is devastating that her journey in this World Cup is over, but myself and all of the Roses are by her side supporting her through this time. We will do everything we can to ensure she is back playing again soon.”
Guscoth’s absence will come as a blow for Neville, who relished the opportunity to rotate her squad after the opening win over Uganda, with top scorer Jo Harten rested for all but the final moments of the contest.
Harten’s replacement Rachel Dunn seized her chance in admirable fashion with 49 goals in 52 attempts as the Scots, seeking positives ahead of a tough final group game against Uganda on Sunday, struggled to keep pace.
The different priorities of both teams were made plain by memories of the last time they met, when England’s 74-28 triumph on the Gold Coast set them off on their dramatic Commonwealth Games gold medal journey last year.
For the ninth-ranked Scots, a stronger performance and a reduced margin of defeat was the realistic target as they prepare for the all-important placement rounds, from which a top-eight finish is the target.
However, any Scottish hopes that their opponents might be too focused on the bigger picture were dashed in an almost faultless opening quarter – Guscoth’s departure apart – in which both Dunn and Helen Housby scored 100 per cent of goal attempts to establish an 18-9 lead.
Dunn maintained her superb percentage accuracy as England stretched the lead to 35-20 at half-time, with Lynsey Gallagher once again the Scottish star with 10 goals as her team struggled to make much impression.
England captain Serena Guthrie made her first appearance of the day for the start of the third quarter and her impact was immediately evident as her side scored 20 against their opponents’ six to stretch their lead to 55-26.
In front of another raucous crowd, England ultimately cruised over the line, although Dunn said she was unaware of the notable accomplishment of scoring from all of her first 21 shots on target.
Veteran Dunn, a former two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, missed out on the squad for the Gold Coast but said watching her team-mates claim their historic gold has left both them and her hungry for more.
“Seeing the girls go out there and do it fills you with confidence, because you know you’re playing with girls who went out and got the gold medal,” said Dunn.
“It’s definitely a driving force behind it, knowing we have players to know how to go out and do it, and hopefully we can combine with them to try to get another gold for the team.”
England are expected to cruise through their final group game against Samoa on Sunday while Scotland face an intriguing test against world number six-ranked Uganda, who beat the Samoans 69-48 on Court Two.
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