There were wins for England, France and Ireland in round three of the women’s Six Nations as results went as expected at the half-way point of the tournament.
In fact so far in this year’s competition there all results have gone as expected, with no upsets, though Ireland almost did it in France last week, and the tournament heads towards round four with its biggest game to come between France and England.
First to last Friday night where Ireland were in imperious form, dismissing Italy 40-10 and scoring some cracking tries out wide in the process. The home side had gone into the game on the back of a narrow one point defeat to France last time out and a postponed match against Wales so needed a confidence booster ahead of that re-match next weekend.
They got it inside five minutes when lock Marie Louise Reilly broke through for the first try of the night. Niamh Kavanagh grabbed the second try for her side in the 14th minute and then Joy Neville added a third to help Ireland to a 21-7 lead at halftime with Cristina Molic grabbing a try back for Italy. In the second half Ireland added three more tries from Amy Davis, Alison Miller and Jen Murphy to put some gloss on the win and the Irish will go into their game against Wales next weekend with high confidence.
On Saturday Scotland hosted a women’s international at Stirling RFC for the first time but the new venue didn’t result in a first win with France taking a 23-0 win. France took an early 13-0 lead with a tries from Cyrielle Bouisset and Aida Ba and a penalty from Aurelie Bailon. France were particularly strong at line-out time scoring three tries in the game coming from well worked catch-and-drive calls. Marine De Nadai and Gaelle Mignot added two more tries for the visitors as they ensured they go into their big fourth round clash with England with useful momentum. Scotland will have to travel to Ireland in an effort to pick up their first points of this year’s tournament.
And so to Twickenham where an estimated crowd of 10,000 stayed behind to watch the England women beat Wales 33-0. The home team began with a bang with on-form winger Michaela Staniford rushing over for a try inside the first five minutes. Wales rallied well and with Naomi Thomas and Rachel Taylor putting in good showings, England had to work hard for their next scores – a penalty from Katy McLean and a great try for centre Emily Scarratt.
Rowena Burnfield, Kay Wilson and Staniford added further tries early in the second half and Sarah Hunter came off the bench for the final try to wrap up a convincing win. England will be pleased to get yet another win at Twickenham with some good momentum now going into their key game against France. Wales were wonderfully committed and had chances to score but in the end their opponents were too quick and strong for them overall. Most impressive for the Welsh was their captain Taylor who will have to pick her side up for next weekend’s rearranged fixture against Ireland.
by Ali Donnelly
Ali Donnelly is Editor for the women’s rugby website Scrum Queens. For more information on the women’s game, visit www.scrumqueens.com