England's women scored six tries to secure their sixth Six Nations title in a row


An awesome display from Alex Matthews helped the Red Roses extended their record-breaking Six Nations dominance with a third straight Grand Slam courtesy of a 42-21 victory over France in Bordeaux.

John Mitchell’s side have now won 29 championship games in a row, extending their own record, and continued their recent superiority against les Bleues, who have still not beaten the Red Roses since 2018.

Read more: When was the last time England women lost to France in the Six Nations

Matthews scored two tries but the No 8 was a menace all over the park and typified the kind of fight and spirit that will please Mitchell and the rest of his coaching staff who were part of a 28,000-strong record crowd watching on.

The home side were not helped by playing the vast majority of the second half with 14 women, but even with a full contingent they were always up against a white winning machine that scored six tries on Saturday afternoon and ominously for the rest of the women’s game, show no sign of relenting anytime soon with next year’s home World Cup fast approaching.

Red Roses win Grand Slam: How the action unfolded in Bordeaux

England stormed into action in the south of France, Maud Muir’s try from close range giving them the perfect start after just four minutes.

The Red Roses’ onslaught continued and eventually their pressure told as Matthews added a second try and with fly-half Holly Aitchison kicking both conversions the visitors went 14-0 up after 12 minutes.

Things looked ominous for les Bleues at that stage but they rallied, drawing the Stade Chaban-Delmas crowd into the contest with some promising phases which took them deep into England’s 22. Once there, a superb line from centre Gabrielle Vernier, who surged past Tatyana Heard, opened France’s account.

Red Roses win Grand Slam

England celebrate scoring against France in Bordeaux on their way to victory (Getty Images)

Momentum appeared to be swinging towards the underdogs but Meg Jones’ opportunist interception and a phenomenal touchline conversion from Aitchison restored the 14-point cushion.

France then pulled off one of the scores of the tournament as a lovely wrap-around play sent scrum-half Pauline Bourdon Sansus into space before the ball went through the hands to wing Marine Menager who applied an electric finish, although her opposite number Jess Breach was beaten far too easily.

With the game now in the balance at 21-14, England were handed an easy way back into the ascendancy as France bungled the kick-off. Mitchell’s side then went back to basics with their power game and the rolling Red Roses maul led to a try for captain Marlie Packer.

France went close when Bourdon Sansus dribbled the ball over the tryline, however the play was pulled back as the No 9 was offside from the chargedown. Buoyed by that reprieve, England dominated the closing stages of the first half and their imperious forward pack once again proved too hot to handle for France, hooker Amy Cokayne dotting down the fifth try to make it 35-14 at half-time.

France’s hopes of mounting a second-half comeback suffered an early setback when tightead prop Assia Khalfaoui’s yellow card for a dangerous clearout on Morwenna Talling just five minutes after the interval was subsequently upgraded to red.

The decision to remove captain Manaé Feleu to bring on the replacement prop raised a few eyebrows but France, with nothing to lose, continued to throw everything at England and were happy to play from anywhere and although they put their opponents under large amounts of pressure, struggled to convert that into points.

Eventually, playing with abandon provided some reward as Vernier made inroads close to the line before Menager grabbed her second in the 70th minute courtesy of an overlap on the right-hand side. A successful conversion reduced the gap to 14.

In reply, England chucked on World Cup winner and former World Player of the Year, Emily Scarratt. A riposte which goes some way to explaining the gap England have opened up over the rest of the northern hemisphere.

But it was another 2014 world champion in Matthews who extinguished France’s faint hopes with her second score to cap a tremendous individual display, both on Super Saturday and across the championship, from the base of the scrum.

Red Roses win Grand Slam but what does result mean for women’s Six Nations? Let us know on social media or email rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com

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