England Women became the third English side to defeat Wales this weekend when they inflicted a 19-0 victory over their fierce rivals on Sunday. Joining the senior men and England Under 20s Gary Street’s side overcame the horrendous wind and rain soaked conditions to run in three tries at Cross Keys RFC.
England, who are targeting a sixth successive Six Nations title and another Grand Slam, dominated the game for most parts and also showed tremendous skill and patience in defence. Tries came courtesy of Richmond wing Fran Matthews, new skipper Katy McLean and Worcester’s Danielle Waterman, while McLean also added two conversions.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “For most of the game we dominated and we have got to be pleased with that. The conditions were very difficult today and that played its part. We haven’t played since September so I expected a bit of rustiness but we scored some nice tries and our defence was solid as ever. Our next test is against Italy on Saturday and not only will we be looking for a win, but we will be looking for an improved performance.”
It was Matthews who opened up England’s account in the first half with an 11th minute touchdown. England had all the possession in the opening stages but the rain soaked pitch made the playing conditions difficult.
England, however, always opted to go for the points rather than the posts and their perseverance paid off with the Richmond winger touching down. From another England scrum England outwitted Wales by not powering forward to the line but popping the ball out to Margaret Alphonsi who then offloaded to Matthews on the wing. McLean, however, was unable to make the conversion with the gusty wind going against England.
The visitors were then made to wait for any more spoils with neither side able to capitalise. The sodden ground made the going heavy while looking after the ball proved slippery in the wet conditions.
Wales too were strong in defence but they were penalised one too many times come the end of the first half when referee Mark Patton punished the home side with an England penalty try. Catherine Spencer had been close to taking the points but following the referee’s intervention it was McLean who stroked over the penalty try, handing England a 12-0 lead at half time.
With the wind now behind them, England came out in much more impressive style, putting try number three on the board after just eight minutes.
England had worked hard to get the ball back after being turned over in Wales’ 22. Scrum half La Toya Mason then got the ball out to fly half McLean and then Kim Oliver, who drew in Wales’ defence. A quick offload to Waterman then saw the full back free to score on the right wing. With McLean adding the conversion England found themselves in a more comfortable 19-0 lead, which is where they stayed until the final whistle.
Wales, however, did their best to change that with a late comeback which saw them within touching distance of the try line, but each time their efforts were thwarted by a wall of England shirts.
England: 15 Danielle Waterman (Worcester); 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), 11 Fran Matthews (Richmond); 10 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (C), 9 La Toya Mason (Wasps); 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 5 Rebecca Essex (Richmond), 6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), 7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), 8 Catherine Spencer (Bristol). Replacements: 16 Emma Croker (Richmond), 17 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), 18 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 19 Heather Fisher(Worcester), 20 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield), 21 Rachael Burford (Richmond), 22 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Tries: Matthews, McLean, Waterman
Conversions: McLean (2)
Replacements: Burnfield for Essex (HT), Burford for Oliver, Crowley for Hemming, Fisher for Hunter (all 52), Roberts for Waterman, Croker for Garnett (all 61)
15 Aimee Young (Bath Ladies), 14 Caryl James (Cardiff Quins), 13 Adi Taviner (Neath Athletic), 12 Elen Evans (Dolgellau), 11 Charlie Murray (Neath Athletic), 10 Elinor Snowsill (Cardiff Quins), 9 Amy Day (Cross Keys), 1 Caryl Thomas (Bath Ladies), 2 Rhian Bowden (Cross Keys), 3 Catrin Edwards (Cardiff Quins), 4 Ashley Rowlands (Wasps), 5 Shona Powell Hughes (Neath Athletic), 6 Lisa Newton (UWIC), 8 Jamie Kift (Cross Keys), 7 Sioned Harries (UWIC). Replacements: 16 Lowri Harries (Neath Athletic), 17 Jenny Davies (Waterloo), 18 Vicky Owens (UWIC), 19 Sian Williams (Bath Ladies), 20 Laura Prosser (Cardiff Quins), 21 Awen Thomas (Cross Keys), 22 Kerin Lake (Neath Athletic)
Assistant Referees:Phil Connett & Kelvin Shorte
England’s RBS 6 Nations Fixtures
Wales v England Feb 6 Cross Keys RFC WON 0-19
England v Italy Feb 12 Esher RFC KO 430pm
*England v France Feb 27 Worcester RFC KO 105pm
** England v Scotland March 13 Twickenham Stadium KO 515pm
Ireland v England March 18 Ashbourne RFC KO 730pm
* Live on Sky Sports
**Free entry to Twickenham Stadium after men’s Calcutta Cup clash