Scotland 5 England 34
Watch the live tries and an interview with Catherine Spencer on the following link
England Women are just one game away from claiming an unprecedented third consecutive RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam crown after a convincing 34-5 victory against Scotland today.
The reigning champions, who’ve already defeated Wales, Italy and France in style, ran in six tries including two for Wasps winger Michaela Staniford. Henley’s Rochelle Clark, Worcester’s Katherine Merchant, Saracens’ Claire Allan and Clifton’s Danielle Waterman were also on the score-sheet.
On a rain-soaked Meggetland Stadium pitch England had to wait 14 minutes to break the duck and that score came courtesy of Staniford. The Wasps back was on the end of a well worked line-out, catch and drive which then saw the ball recycled out through the centres and on to Staniford. Richmond’s Alice Richardson converted.
11 minutes later and Henley prop Clark claimed the first touchdown for the England forwards. The loose-head capitalised on England’s pressure on Scotland’s line and hit a ruck to drive over and score. Richardson failed with the conversion, but it didn’t matter with Staniford handing the tourists a 17-0 lead at half-time after the wing battled her way through two defenders to score under the posts.
After the break Scotland had their chances and made the most of it with a 43rd minute try. A missed tackle by England cost them dear and lock Lindsay Wheeler made a big break through the midfield. She was tackled just short of the line by Staniford, but prop Heather Lockhart picked up and drove over the line.
That was where Scotland’s charge ended though and Worcester wing Katherine Merchant soon put England back on track with a 46th minute try after a nice pass from Victoria Massarella from the back of a ruck.
England then brought on the re-enforcements, bringing on five substitutions in quick successions and handing a debut to Natalie Binstead. Saracens’ Allan, playing at fullback, made an immediate impact scoring within two minutes of being on the pitch. A well-worked line-out led to a midfield attack and Allan ran in the try. This time replacement fly-half Katy McLean converted.
Clifton wing Waterman then rounded off proceedings for England with a 70th minute touchdown. Scotland paid the price for a poor clearance kick, which skipper Catherine Spencer charged down and forward Amy Garnett then popped the ball out to Waterman on the wing to make the final score 34-5.
Head Coach Gary Street said: “Today has been a good day. The conditions weren’t kind to us and I think they acted as a bit of an equaliser. For us, it was also useful to blood two new caps and try out some new combinations on the pitch.
“Scotland indeed raised their game today and defended furiously. This was one of our tougher fixtures this season though we know now that we will have to raise our game again ahead of next Saturday’s Grand Slam Championship decider against Ireland at London Irish ARFC.”
1 Rochelle Clark (Henley), 2 Emma Layland (Richmond), 3 Katy Storie (Blaydon Team Northumbria), 4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 5 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), 7 Jane Leonard (Wasps/Army), 8 Catherine Spencer (C) (Worcester), 9 Amy Turner (Richmond), 10 Alice Richardson (Richmond), 11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 12 Rachael Burford (Saracens), 13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 15 Victoria Massarella (Saracens). Replacements: 16 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 17 Claire Purdy (Wasps), 18 Natalie Binstead (Wasps), 20 Danielle Waterman (Clifton), 21 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 22 Claire Allan (Saracens)
* Karen Jones was withdrawn from the bench due to illness
Tries: Staniford (2), Clark, Merchant, Allan, Waterman
Conversions: Richardson, McLean
Substitutions: Binstead for Hunter (40), Allan for Massarella, Waterman for Staniford, McLean for Burford, Garnett for Leonard (all 50), Purdy for Storie (60).
1 Heather Lockhart, 2 Sarah-Louise Walker, 3 Jilly McCord, 4 Lana Blyth, 5
Lindsay Wheeler, 6 Louise Moffat, 7 Lynne Reid, 8 Sonia Cull, 9 Sarah Gill, 10 Erin Kerr, 11 Tanya Griffith, 12 Suzi Newton, 13 Veronica Fitzpatrick, 14 Cara D'Silva, 15 Lynsey Douglas. Replacements: 16 Joan Hutchison, 17 Beth Dickens, 18 Mary Lafaiki, 19 Keri Holdsworth, 20 Louise Dalgliesh, 21 Laura Steven, 22 Julie Sanaghan.
Half-time score: Scotland 0 England 17
Referee : David Bodilly (WRU)
TJ1 : Luis Arola
TJ2 : Graeme Marshall
4th Off. : Graham Allen
5th Off. : Johann van der Merwe
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 KO 445pm
Wins also for Surrey Storm, Saracens Mavericks and team bath
photo Dan Vernon
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