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Rugby - 17. March 2008.

England Women crowned RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam champions

Video footage of England's Great Triumph can be viewed at
http://public.box.net/sportuktv08

England
17 Ireland 7

The victory hands England an unprecedented third consecutive Grand Slam victory in Six Nations history and clearly sends out a strong message to the reigning World Champions New Zealand ahead of the next IRB Rugby World Cup in 2010.

rugbyenglandteamchamps.jpg


England’s 17-7 victory comes following a 55-0 win over Wales, a 76-6 triumph against Italy, a record away 31-0 victory against France and a 5-34 defeat of Scotland. Saracens centre Claire Allan led the try scoring tally with an impressive six touchdowns during the campaign, including a try in the first minute of the game against Ireland.

England Head Coach Gary Street said: “It’s a great feeling to win the Grand Slam again. For me this is my first one as Head Coach and I have to say this title is a testament to the hard work of the players on and off the field.

rugbyCatherinespencerliftsw.jpg
Captain Catherine Spencer lifts the 6 Nations Cup


“We would have liked to put in a better performance today but really today is all about the performance of this team throughout the championship. The real success story has been the bonding of this squad, from a new coaching team to a relatively new and young squad. We clearly have a very strong squad with a lot of depth and that is going to stand us in very good stead for the future.”

England Assistant Coach Graham Smith added: “I am obviously delighted that we have won, and won the title again. It is an amazing achievement.

“Today was tough, but we always knew it would be against Ireland. For the first 15 minutes of the game I think we played a completely error free game of rugby but when we failed to score again Ireland grew in confidence and came back at us.

“For me, the forwards have been an immense part of our campaign. They really are a talented bunch and their scrummaging and line-outs have been outstanding. Overall I think there is a very special feeling about this squad and they could well prove to be world beaters. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the RFU and the Guinness Premiership Academies for their help in developing our players as well as the hard work of all of those involved in the success of this England team.”

England were handed their Grand Slam title after a hard fought 80 minutes of rugby. The home side initially looked like they would run in another cricket score win after a try for Allen with just a minute on the clock. The score came following a scrum in Ireland’s 22 with Richmond’s scrum-half Amy Turner popping the ball up to Allan who scored under the posts. Fly-half Katy McLean converted to hand England a 7-0 lead.

Just seven minutes later and McLean had another chance at goal with a penalty and she was successful, though a missed kick at goal on 20 minutes left England having to settle for a 10-0 lead at half-time.

After the restart Ireland continued to keep England at bay with some fierce defending. They too were aggressive at the breakdown, stopping England from getting their consistency going while the home side made the win hard work for themselves too.

On 70 minutes Leos forward Sarah Beale broke the deadlock after England drove forward in Ireland’s 22 and Beale managed to break away and score. This time Richardson added the conversion to hand England the 17-0 lead.

Ireland refused to give up though and their gritty determination in the dying minutes of the game paid off when they were handed a line-out five metres out from England’s line. They executed the line-out well and drove over with replacement Yvonne Nolan claiming the spoils. Grace Davitt converted to make the final score 17-7.

England

1 Rochelle Clark (Henley), 2 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 3 Katy Storie (Blaydon Team Northumbria), 4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 5 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), 7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), 8 Catherine Spencer (C) (Worcester), 9 Amy Turner (Richmond), 10 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 11 Danielle Waterman (Clifton), 12 Rachael Burford (Saracens), 13 Claire Allan (Saracens), 14 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 15 Charlotte Barras (Saracens). Replacements:

16 Emma Layland (Richmond), 17 Sophie Hemming (Clifton), 18 Sarah Beale (Leos), 19 Karen Jones (Richmond), 20 Alice Richardson (Richmond), 21 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 22 Victoria Massarella (Saracens)

Tries: Allan, Beale

Conversions: McLean, Richardson

Penalities: McLean

Substitutions: Merchant for Waterman (48), Richardson for McLean & Massarella for Barras (53), Beale for McGilchrist (56), Layland for Garnett (65), Jones for Hunter & Hemming for Clark (68),

Ireland

1 Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemian), 2 Jessika Limbert (Cooke), 3 Marie Barrett (Highfield), 4 Germaine Healy (Blackrock), 5 Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemian), 6 Orla Brennan (Blackrock), 7 Eimear O Sullivan (Highfield), 8 Joy Neville (UL Bohs), 9 Tania Rosser (Blackrock), 10 Jo O Sullivan (Richmond), 11 Grace Davitt (Blackrock), 12 Shannon Houston (Blackrock), 13 Patrique Kelly (UL Bohemian), 14 Lynne Cantwell (UL Bohemian), 15 Sarah Jane Belton (UL Bohemian) C. Replacements: 16 Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemian), 17 Yvonne Nolan (Blackrock), 18 Louise Austin (Blackrock), 19 Sinead Ryan (Blackrock), 20 Louise Beamish (UL Bohemian), 21 Niamh Briggs (Clonmel), 22 Amy Davis (Cooke).

Tries: Nolan

Conversions: Davitt

Penalities:

Referee: Andrew Healy (SRU)

Half-time score: 10-0

England RBS 6 Nations Fixtures

February 2nd England v Wales, London Irish RFC, Sunbury KO 230pm WON 55-0

February 9th Italy v England, Stadio Tre Fontane, Rome, KO 230pm WON 76-6

February 23rd France v England, Bergerac, nr Agen, WON 0-31

March 8th Scotland v England Meggetland Stadium, Edinburgh WON 5-34

March 15th England v Ireland, London Irish RFC, Sunbury WON 17-7

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