THERE ARE very few sporting certainties in the world but it would be safe to put your mortgage on England’s women picking up their fifth Grand Slam in six years, writes Rugby World editor Paul Morgan. This is especially the case since they despatched their only credible rivals, France, in the third round 16-3.
Picking up where they left off at last year’s World Cup, when they lost in the final to New Zealand, and having lost none of their first XV, England have been rampaging through Europe this time around, only conceding one try in the first three rounds while scoring a massive 103 points. Italian replacement Chiara Castellarin has the honour of scoring the only try conceded by England – in a 68-5 win – to this point.
But the victories still haven’t satisfied England coach Gary Street, who said: “There’s lots for us to work on but the important thing is that we’re still on track. We’re fortunate that we haven’t had many retirements since the World Cup and that this is still a young squad.”
England have been playing home games in Esher and Worcester, but will take their rightful place at the home of English rugby when they face Scotland at Twickenham after the men’s match on Sunday 13 March.
Under England’s new skipper Katy McLean, Worcester’s outstandingly talented Nolli Waterman leads the way in the try-scoring stakes with three, following her impressive form in the Women’s World Cup.
Italy are up and running and looking likely to avoid the wooden spoon after beating Wales 12-8 in round three for their first win in 2011, following defeats to Ireland and England. Maria Diletta Veronese and Cioffi Maria Grazia scored the tries as Wales lost in La Spezia.
France previously edged out Ireland 14-12 to probably decide the runners-up spot, while Wales defeated Scotland 41-12.
This article appeared in the April 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine
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