England Women's RBS Six Nations title aspirations are still firmly on track after a dominant 52-7 victory over France at London Welsh today (Sunday).
England now head into Saturday's final Six Nations fixture against Scotland needing to secure a win, whilst also waiting to see how Wales and Ireland fair in an important showdown on the same day. All three sides now sit at the top of the table with six points but England have the superior points difference.
England powered to an impressive win against Les Bleus, with Lichfield young star Emily Scarratt grabbing a hat-trick of tries, giving her nine tries in just eight outings for England. Saracens' Maggie Alphonsi and Charlotte Barras, Richmond's Amy Turner and Worcester's Katherine Merchant also touched down.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: "This was a fantastic performance built on will. We have been working extremely hard since losing to Wales in February.
"France never gave up today, but our determination and defence paid off. We were extremely organised, and the forwards did a tremendous job in giving the rest of the team a great platform to work from.
"We are still very much in the mix for the title, so next week is going to be a massive game against Scotland for us."
England made a tremendous start to the match, with centre Scarratt on the score-board after just two minutes. The home side immediately applied the pressure, and went close straight away on the right wing, before the run of play then switched to the left wing, and Scarratt went over.
Saracens Alphonsi followed up Scarratt's efforts moments later when Scarratt showed a good turn of speed to get Barras close. Barras then offloaded to Alphonsi who barged over the line. Katy McLean added the conversion.
England then went 17-0 up with Turner adding a superb try with the help of speedster Merchant before Barras and Scarratt added two more tries before half-time. With McLean adding two conversions, England led 31-0 at half-time.
The one way traffic continued after the restart with Barras and Merchant again showing their class. Fullback Barras made a great break and then offloaded to Merchant who ran in on the right wing with ease for a converted try on 46 minutes.
Scarratt clinched her hat-trick on 69 minutes after a superb pass from Fran Matthews, and despite France grabbing an intercept try, Merchant immediately responded to claim her brace of tries, taking a high ball well to then charge in again and score. Scarratt this time added the conversion.
Tries: Scarratt (3), Alphonsi, Turner, Barras, Merchant (2) Conversions: McLean (4), Scarratt (2) Penalties: Substitutions: Sharples for Alphonsi (HT), Rozario for Turner, Matthews for Pocock (52), Hunter for Jones, Storie for Hemming, Rurdy for Clark, Oliver for McLean.
Referee: Stefano TRAVERSI Assistant Referees: Chris CHALLINOR, Nicola REYNOLDS
England Women RBS 6 Nations Fixtures:
Feb 7th England v Italy 13.30 London Welsh RFC WON 69-13 Feb 14th Wales v England 13.00 Taffs Wells RFC, Cardiff LOST 16-15 Feb 27th Ireland v England 18.30 St. Mary's RFC, Dublin WON 29-13 March 15th England v France 13.30 London Welsh RFC WON 52-7 March 21st England v Scotland 13.30 London Welsh RFC