England complete Women's Six Nations Grand Slam with win over Ireland

Women's Six Nations
Ireland (0) 7
Try: Lyons Con: Tyrell
England (5) 34
Tries: Wilson Hardy, Keates, Cokayne, Scarratt, Thompson Cons: Scarratt 3 Pen: Scarratt

England completed a Women's Six Nations Grand Slam by beating a physical Ireland 34-7 at rainy Donnybrook.

Amy Wilson Hardy went over in the corner as England scored from their only chance in the first half.

Ireland struggled to breach England's solid defence and were made to pay as the world champions ran in four tries.

Forwards Laura Keates and Amy Cokayne extended the visitors' lead before backs Emily Scarratt and Lydia Thompson rounded off the win with fine tries.

With the under-20 men's side having won a Grand Slam earlier on Friday, England's men will look to complete a hat-trick by beating Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

The women, who return to Ireland in the summer to defend their world title, have won their first Six Nations title since 2012.

England ride the storm

Wing Wilson Hardy completed a fine England move in the 16th minute, but then Ireland dominated play.

Centre Sene Naoupu came within a metre of going over but was stopped by a superb tackle from flanker Marlie Packer, and home captain Paula Fitzpatrick was prevented from touching down by a posse of England players.

England regrouped after half-time and extended their lead when replacement prop Keates drove over the line from two metres out.

Ireland were reduced to 14 players two minutes before the hour when substitute Mairead Coyne made a deliberate knock-on.

Hooker Cokayne burst through to increase England's advantage but Ireland hooker Leah Lyons responded to give Ireland hope.

However, Scarratt finished off an excellent England move to put the result beyond doubt and then replacement winger Thompson showed her pace to score England's fifth try.

Six Nations table

'It gives us a springboard now'

England head coach Simon Middleton: "The difference between winning and not winning this match would have been huge.

"It gives us a springboard now and it keeps our winning mentality going.

"It also gives us confidence that what we're doing is right. We know we can get better, fitter and stronger.

"That will be our next focus, but to come here to the lion's den and beat a side that are going to be hosting the World Cup is massive for us. I'm absolutely thrilled."

England captain Sarah Hunter: "It was phenomenal from the team to pull out that performance in the second half. To be Grand Slam champions is an incredible feeling but we were made to work hard for it.

"We have worked for five long years to get that Grand Slam and to get our hands back on that trophy. We fell short last year and we learned a lot about ourselves and this year we have learned to stick with the process and trust in each other."

Line-ups

Ireland: Flood, Tyrrell, Murphy, Naoupu, Miller, Stapleton, Muldoon; Peat, Lyons, Egan, Spence, Reilly, Griffin, Molloy, Fitzpatrick (capt).

Replacements: O'Connor, Van Staden, O'Reilly, Cooney, Fryday, Healy, Caughey, Coyne.

England: Waterman, Wilson Hardy, Scarratt, Reed, Wilson, Scott, Mason; Clark, Cokayne, Lucas, Taylor, Millar-Mills, Matthews, Packer, Hunter.

Replacements: Fleetwood, Cornborough, Keates, Cleall, Noel-Smith, Blackburn, Burford, Thompson.

Top Stories