ENGLAND WOMEN will head to Dublin on Friday night, (March 18 Ashbourne RFC KO 7:30pm) as favourites to secure the RBS 6 Nations title for a sixth successive year and the Grand Slam after a comprehensive 89-0 demolition of Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday.
England ran in a incredible 15 tries – scoring with almost every attack – on route to the victory at the home of England Rugby which sees the Rugby World Cup finalists continue their unbeaten record at the stadium,putting them top the table with an unblemished record while France are the only team who could spoil their party on Friday if England do not complete the Grand Slam .
Fran Matthews, Emily Scarratt, Rochelle Clark, Maggie Alphonsi, Nolli Waterman and Heather Fisher all claimed braces of tries whilst flanker Fisher’s blistering efforts earned her the accolade of Player of the Match. Alphonsi and Waterman didn’t come on until the second half.
England Head Coach Gary Street said after the match: “I am really happy with this result. After making some good headway in the first half we stuck to the task after the restart and kept the momentum going. We managed to put on an exciting show for the thousands of fans that stayed behind whilst at the same time we did our basics well and stayed on track in the right direction.
Just like their male counterparts, England women will play Ireland on Friday, “We must keep on improving though and Friday is going to be a massive game. This is a short turn around for both Ireland and ourselves and we need to manage that well. They’ll be wounded after losing to Wales today so I am sure they will throw everything they have at us come Friday night.” said Gary Street.
England were in control from the first kick of the ball with Worcester wing Katherine Merchant putting England ahead after just a minute. Skipper Katy McLean settled England’s nerves with a good kick to touch in Scotland’s half. The tourists couldn’t control their line out and La Toya Mason recycled the ball out to the midfield. Centre Rachael Burford went close on the left wing, before the ball was recycled out to the right again with Matthews setting up Merchant nicely. McLean missed the conversion.
Six minutes later and it was Matthews’ turn to add the first of her two tries. England dominated possession and McLean fed Kim Oliver in the midfield before fullback Scarratt made some good yards to set up Matthews on the left wing.
Next up and it was Scarratt’s turn, playing in just her second game at fullback for England. A good England scrum saw Mason recycle the ball out to McLean and then Scarratt, who spotted a great line to carve her way through Scotland’s defence and score under the posts. McLean this time converted to make the score 17-0 after as many minutes.
Richmond lock Becky Essex claimed try number four for the home side after Catherine Spencer made a good break. Fisher then burst through the midfield. With McLean in support the fly half got the ball out to the left wing and Essex showed great speed and strength to barge her way over the line despite a high tackle from Scotland.
England’s charge continued with prop Rochelle Clark, in fine form again after her prolific efforts against France two weeks ago, finishing off where Burford couldn’t by muscling her way over the try line after another England barrage of attack.
Matthews and then Fisher rounded off proceedings for England in the first half with two strong tries in the space of just five minutes. With McLean adding two more conversions England led 41-0 at the break.
Scotland couldn’t halt England’s charge after the restart and failed to have any answers to the home side’s onslaught. Fisher reopened England’s account after just 30 seconds following a nicely floated McLean pass that enabled the powerhouse flanker to cut a great line and run in from 22 metres out for a converted try.
Lichfield’s Scarratt and Worcester’s Clark added to their tallies within the next ten minutes before replacement Alphonsi stamped her mark on the game. Merchant, ever present on the wing, made some great space and the England flanker was in support to finish off the move in style.
Captain McLean was next on the score sheet on 66 minutes to hand England a 75-0 lead before Alphonsi claimed her second try. This time replacement Waterman was at the heart of the action with a great break. She couldn’t go all the way and again Alphonsi was ready to pounce. She did just that showing tremendous power and pace to secure England’s 13th try.
With five minutes to go the England train was showing no signs of slowing and Waterman once again showed the rugby crowd her great footwork and pace to dance around Scotland’s defence and score two tries in the dying moments of the game. With McLean adding her seventh conversion England took the 89-0 victory in style.
15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Rachael Burford (Richmond), 12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), 11 Francesca Matthews (Richmond), 10 Katy Mclean (C) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 9 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Rebecca Essex(Richmond), 5 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 6 SarahHunter (Lichfield), 7 Heather Fisher(Worcester), 8 Catherine Spencer (Bristol). Replacements: 16 Emma Croker (Richmond), 17 ClairePurdy(Wasps), 18 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 19 Margaret Alphonsi (vc) (Saracens), 20 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield), 21 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 22 Danielle Waterman (Worcester)
Tries: Merchant, Matthews (2), Scarratt (2), Essex, Clark (2), Fisher (2), Alphonsi (2), McLean, Waterman (2)
Conversions: McLean (7)
Substitutions: Purdy for Hemming (HT), Alphonsi for Spencer (48), Roberts for Matthews, Burnfield for McGilchrist (both 51), Layland for Garnett (52), Waterman for Oliver, Rozario for Mason (both 59)
15 Caroline Collie (Old Albanians), 14 Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers), 13 Annabel Sergeant (Dundee University), 12 Stephanie Johnston (Hillhead Jordanhill), 11 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), 10 Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), 9 Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars), 1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead Jordanhill), 2 Lindsey Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill), 3 Tracy Balmer (Worcester), 4 Anna Swann (Edinburgh University), 5 Lindsay Wheeler (Darlington Mowden Sharks), 6 Charlotte Veale (Wasps), 7 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), 8 Susannah Brown (Richmond). Replacements: 16 Alison MacDonald (RHC Cougars), 17 Elizabeth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), 18 Tess Forsberg (Richmond), 19Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead Jordanhill), 20 Suzanne McKerlie-Hex, 21 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars), 22 Lauren Harris (Aberdeenshire Quines).
Referee: Dana Teagarden
Assistant Referees: Clare Daniels and Clare Hodnett
Half time score: England 41 Scotland 0