Red Roses seal a Six Nations Grand Slam in Bayonne

England Women’s Six Nations Squad 2022

England are Grand Slam champions.

They wrapped up a fourth straight Women’s Six Nations title by beating France 24-12 in Bayonne.

It wasn’t their most convincing performance but they did enough to extend their winning run to 23 Tests, with the Red Roses maul key to victory.

Romane Menager scored an early try for France before England crossed three times in 15 minutes – all from rolling mauls. Sarah Bern – later named Player of the Match – scored twice, either side of an Abbie Ward try. That gave the visitors a 21-7 half-time lead.

The second half was a far tighter affair and one France actually won 5-3 – an Annaelle Deshaye try bettering an Emily Scarratt penalty – but England had already done enough to wrap up another title.

England team to face France – Saturday 30 April

Helena Rowland; Lydia Thompson, Emily Scarratt, Holly Aitchison, Jess Breach; Zoe Harrison, Leanne Infante; Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Zoe Aldcroft, Abbie Ward, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Poppy Cleall.

Replacements: Amy Cokayne, Hannah Botterman, Maud Muir, Rosie Galligan, Sarah Beckett, Sadia Kabeya, Natasha Hunt, Ellie Kildunne.

England 69-0 Ireland

England set up a Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam decider with France by beating Ireland 69-0 in front of a record crowd in Leicester.

A total of 15,836 people were at Welford Road – an attendance for a standalone Red Roses fixture that beats the record set at Kingsholm a fortnight ago – and they saw England extend their winning run to 22 consecutive Tests while Emily Scarratt and Leanne Infante reached the milestones of 100 and 50 caps respectively.

In the end they ran in 11 tries, their ruthlessness evident in the second 40, but England fell below their own high standards in the first half. There were inaccuracies and inefficiencies, passes not reaching their intended target and penalties conceded at the breakdown as Ireland’s determined defenders took advantage of isolated players.

Given that Ireland were without their sevens players and injured lock Sam Monaghan, it was a gritty performance in that opening 40. However, England clicked far better in the second half and the quality of their bench ensured they continued to dominate at the set-piece.

Their lineout maul delivered a handful of tries while they showed some quite remarkable power at scrum time too, driving Ireland off their own ball on several occasions.

Lark Davies and Sarah Bern scored the first-half tries, both from driving mauls. Then Marlie Packer ensured the Red Roses kicked off the second half with a bang to score following a great run down the wing in the 42nd minute.

The Red Roses then crossed three times in ten minutes while Dorothy Wall was in the sin-bin, Davies getting her second, Lydia Thompson finished off a brilliant set move and Poppy Cleall going over following another good maul.

Further tries followed in the final quarter for Hannah Botterman, Cleall, Ellie Kildunne (two) and Thompson, with Ireland playing the last 13 minutes with just 14 players as Sene Naoupu was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Scarratt.

Now the Red Roses head to Bayonne to play France in ‘La Crunch’ in the hope of making it four straight Six Nations titles.

England team to face Ireland – Sunday 24 April

Helena Rowland; Lydia Thompson, Emily Scarratt, Holly Aitchison, Jess Breach; Zoe Harrison, Leanne Infante; Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Zoe Aldcroft, Abbie Ward, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter (captain).

Replacements: Amy Cokayne, Hannah Botterman, Maud Muir, Rosie Galligan, Poppy Cleall, Natasha Hunt, Amber Reed, Ellie Kildunne.

England 58-5 Wales

England delivered a statement performance against Wales in front of a record crowd at Kingsholm to maintain their bid for a fourth straight Women’s Six Nations title.

A total of 14,689 people packed into Gloucester’s home ground – a record attendance for a ticketed women’s Test in England – and they were treated to a 58-5 victory as the hosts extended their winning run to 21 matches.

The Red Roses’ driving maul was dominant once more, even with a couple of messy lineouts early on, and they made huge metres with that set-piece weapon, while Zoe Harrison delivered a masterful performance from fly-half with some sumptuous passing and pinpoint kicking.

For all the celebrations, there will also be concern for Abby Dow, who suffered a serious leg injury early in the first half that led to a lengthy stoppage while she received treatment before being taken to hospital.

In the 14 minutes played before Dow was taken off on a stretcher the score remained 0-0; within a few seconds of the match being restarted England powered over with a driving maul from five metres, Lark Davies touching down.

Abbie Ward, the Player of the Match, crossed midway through the half, the Red Roses trying a blindside lineout move before working their way back towards the posts with a series of pick-and-goes and Ward forced her way over.

Their third try was a mix of mauling power, slick passing and pure speed. The forwards took a maul from the 10m line to inside the 22, then Zoe Harrison, Helena Rowland and Ellie Kildunne combined to put Jess Breach into space out wide. The winger, making her first international appearance in nearly a year, didn’t need a second invitation to go over in the corner.

Davies got her second and the bonus point in a similar manner to her first shortly after the break. Breach’s brace followed in the 52nd minute after initial pick-and-go work by the forwards close to the line then a lovely wide pass from Harrison to send the winger over in the corner.

Sarah Bern powered over in the corner after a blindside move from a 5m lineout and Alex Matthews crossed just after the hour mark. A long Scarratt pass found Ward, who popped the ball inside to Matthews and she sprinted over.

Shaunagh Brown, Emily Scarratt and Sarah Hunter crossed in the final ten minutes to make it ten tries for the hosts. That’s 31 tries in three games for the Red Roses, with only two conceded. Impressive.

England team to face Wales – Saturday 9 April

Abby Dow; Jess Breach, Emily Scarratt, Helena Rowland, Sarah McKenna; Zoe Harrison, Lucy Packer; Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Poppy Cleall, Abbie Ward, Alex Matthews, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter (captain).

Replacements: Connie Powell, Maud Muir, Shaunagh Brown, Rosie Galligan, Vicky Fleetwood, Natasha Hunt, Amber Reed, Ellie Kildunne.

Italy 0-74 England

England’s Women’s Six Nations title defence continued in emphatic style as they scored 12 tries to beat Italy 74-0 in round two.

The Red Roses had the try bonus point wrapped up within half an hour in Parma, with their set-piece again key to a lot of their tries.

Sarah McKenna went over in the fourth minute after a strong lineout drive, Natasha Hunt delivering the scoring pass to the winger on the blindside.

Lydia Thompson was next to cross following a Vickii Cornborough chargedown, then at the midway point in the half Lark Davies touched down from another rolling maul.

It was Shaunagh Brown who wrapped up the bonus point, powering over a couple of Italian defenders from close range, and Alex Matthers added a fifth try for the visitors before the break.

England opened the second half much like they did the first, Thompson going over for her second within a couple of minutes of the restart. Vicky Fleetwood then scored off the back of another maul.

Replacement tighthead Sarah Bern delivered the star turn when sprinting over from halfway after Hunt had picked off an overthrown Italian lineout.

Further tries followed in the last quarter. Emma Sing crossed for her first Test try while winning her second cap, Emily Scarratt collected a Zoe Harrison grubber kick to score her 50th for England, McKenna ended the match as she started it by scoring in the corner and Thompson wrapped things up by completing her hat-trick.

Next up, the Red Roses play their first home game of the 2022 championship, against Wales at Gloucester’s Kingsholm ground on Saturday.

Related: How to buy Women’s Six Nations tickets

England team to play Italy – Sunday 3 April

Ellie Kildunne; Lydia Thompson, Holly Aitchison, Helena Rowland, Sarah McKenna; Zoe Harrison, Natasha Hunt; Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Shaunagh Brown, Rosie Galligan, Abbie Ward, Alex Matthews, Sadia Kabeya, Poppy Cleall (captain).

Replacements: Connie Powell, Maud Muir, Sarah Bern, Sarah Hunter, Vicky Fleetwood, Lucy Packer, Emily Scarratt, Emma Sing.

Scotland 5-57 England

The Red Roses scored nine tries as they opened their Women’s Six Nations campaign with a 57-5 victory over Scotland that extended their winning run to 19 straight Tests.

They have beaten the England men’s mark of 18 consecutive Test wins but they will have to triumph in all their remaining championship matches to equal the women’s record of 23 set by England from 1992 to 1997.

It was a dominant, if not perfect, performance by England, with Marlie Packer to the fore. The openside scored a hat-trick of tries, including the opener, and was her usual physical presence around the pitch. No surprise she was named Player of the Match.

The Red Roses had the bonus point secured after 25 minutes with Poppy Cleall, Heather Cowell and Abby Dow adding to Packer’s early try, and they led 38-5 at the break with further scores from Packer and Leanne Infante. Chloe Rollie scored Scotland’s only try.

Scotland provided a sterner test in the second half and impressed immediately after the break as they set up camp in the England 22, but the hosts were unable to turn that pressure into points.

Instead it was England who scored all the first points after the break. Holly Aitchison collected a Helena Rowland kick to score England’s seventh try before Connie Powell touched down from a driving maul and Packer completed her hat-trick from close range.

Scotland came again but, again, were unable to get across the whitewash. They will be looking to do better on the scoreboard against Wales in Cardiff next weekend, while England head to Italy for the next step of their title defence.

Catch up on the best of Women’s Six Nations round one.

England team to play Scotland – Saturday 26 March

Ellie Kildunne; Heather Cowell, Emily Scarratt, Holly Aitchison, Abby Dow; Helena Rowland, Leanne Infante; Maud Muir, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Rosie Galligan, Abbie Ward, Poppy Cleall, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter.

Replacements: Connie Powell, Vickii Cornborough, Bryony Cleall, Sarah Beckett, Alex Matthews, Lucy Packer, Amber Reed, Emma Sing.

England Women’s Six Nations Squad

Simon Middleton has named a 40-player Red Roses squad for this year’s Women’s Six Nations title defence.

Experienced scrum-half Natasha Hunt returns to the squad having last played a Test in late 2020 while at the other end of the spectrum there are three uncapped players in May Campbell, Emma Sing and Ella Wyrwas.

Emily Scarratt is also selected after recovering from a broken leg suffered at the start of the season and is in line to win her 100th cap during the tournament. Claudia MacDonald and Cath O’Donnell will both miss the championship through injury.

Performances in the Six Nations will be crucial when Middleton has to narrow down his squad for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand later this year.

Middleton, whose side have won the last three Six Nations titles, said: “This is our last competitive tournament before we go into the World Cup so it’s an opportunity for players to put their best foot forward.

“We’ve got a summer’s preparation to go but ultimately how people perform on the biggest stages is critical to us.

“We have a tremendous amount of competition in the squad both in terms of the established players and especially in terms of the younger players now coming through, which is great.”

England Women’s Six Nations Squad 2022

Backs

(DoB/Club/Position/Caps)

Holly Aitchison (21 Feb 1997/Saracens/Centre/7)
Jess Breach (4 Nov 1997/Harlequins/Wing/21)
Heather Cowell (23 Mar 1996/Harlequins/Wing/3)
Abby Dow (29 Sep 1997/Wasps/Wing/24)
Zoe Harrison (14 Apr 1998/Saracens/Fly-half/37)
Natasha Hunt (21 Mar 1989/Gloucester-Hartpury/Scrum-half/58)
Leanne Infante (18 Jul 1993/Bristol Bears/Scrum-half/50)
Ellie Kildunne (8 Sep 1999/Harlequins/Full-back/22)
Sarah McKenna (23 Mar 1989/Saracens/Full-back/41)
Lucy Packer (2 Feb 2000/Harlequins/Scrum-half/3)
Amber Reed (3 Apr 1991/Bristol Bears/Centre/60)
Helena Rowland (19 Sep 1999/Loughborough Lightning/Fly-half/14)
Emily Scarratt (8 Feb 1990/Loughborough Lighting/Centre/100)
Emma Sing (11 Mar 2001/Gloucester-Hartpury/Full-back/2)
Lydia Thompson (10 Feb 1992/Worcester Warriors/Wing/52)
Lagi Tuima (16 Jun 1998/Harlequins/Centre/12)
Ella Wyrwas (7 Mar 1999/Saracens/Scrum-half/Uncapped)

Forwards

Zoe Aldcroft (19 Nov 1996/Gloucester-Hartpury/Lock/29)
Sarah Beckett (14 Feb 1999/Harlequins/Back-row/23)
Sarah Bern (10 Jul 1997/Bristol Bears/Prop/44)
Hannah Botterman (8 Jun 1999/Saracens/Prop/27)
Shaunagh Brown (15 Mar 1990/Harlequins/Prop/26)
Rowena Burnfield (27 Sep 1988/Wasps/Lock/50)
May Campbell (16 May 1996/Saracens/Hooker/Uncapped)
Bryony Cleall (12 Jun 1992/Wasps/Prop/6)
Poppy Cleall (12 Jun 1992/Saracens/Back-row/54)
Amy Cokayne (11 July 1996/Harlequins/Hooker/61)
Vickii Cornborough (3 Mar 1990/Harlequins/Prop/68)
Lark Davies (3 Mar 1995/Loughborough Lightning/Hooker/39)
Vicky Fleetwood (13 Apr 1990/Saracens/Back-row/80)
Rosie Galligan (30 Apr 1998/Harlequins/Lock/5)
Detysha Harper (23 Oct 1998/Loughborough Lightning/Prop/5)
Sarah Hunter (19 Sep 1985/Loughborough Lightning/Back-row/134)
Sadia Kabeya (22 Feb 2002/Loughborough Lightning/Back-row/3)
Alex Matthews (3 Aug 1993/Worcester Warriors/Back-row/49)
Harriet Millar-Mills (16 Apr 1991/Wasps/Back-row/66)
Maud Muir (12 Jul 2001/Wasps FC/Prop/8)
Marlie Packer (28 Apr 1989/Saracens/Back-row/82)
Connie Powell (13 Jul 2000/Gloucester-Hartpury/Hooker/3)
Abbie Ward (27 Mar 1993/Bristol Bears/Lock/54)

England Women’s Six Nations Fixtures 2022

(All kick-off times are UK & Ireland time)

Round One

Sat 26 Mar, Scotland 5-57 England

Round Two

Sun 3 Apr, Italy 0-74 England

Round Three

Sat 9 Apr, England 58-5 Wales

Round Four

Sun 24 Apr, England 69-0 Ireland

Round Five

Sat 30 Apr, France 12-24 England

Don’t miss a game with this Women’s Six Nations TV coverage guide.

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