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Rugby - 26. February 2012.

England Women run in six tries to power to Twickenham victory

England Women’s Six Nations title ambitions remained firmly on track
tonight with the reigning champions inflicting a 33-0 defeat on Home Nation
rivals Wales whilst also maintaining their winning record at Twickenham
Stadium.

Although England’s performance was far from slick Gary Street’s
side ran in six tries on route to the victory with Wasps wing Michaela
Staniford adding a brace. There were also tries for Emily Scarratt, Kay
Wilson, Sarah Hunter and Rowena Burnfield who was named Player of the Match.

Street, whose side have also defeated Scotland 47-0 and Italy 43-3 in the
Six Nations so far, said: “I am really pleased with this performance.
Wales made us work hard for this victory, bringing passion and determination
to the game and they tried very hard to stop our players in their tracks.

“At half-time when we were leading 13-0 we spoke about improving our
discipline, to stop giving away so many penalties and to be more patience.
When we started to do that the points came.

“We have now got two weeks to prepare for our penultimate game
against France and really look at ourselves and analyse the French. With
both teams unbeaten this is going to be a titanic battle but we are going to
make sure we are ready for that challenge.”

With Street once again ringing the changes for this fixture, 11 in total
from the side that started against Italy, England still managed to find
their stride early on and scored within two minutes to put down a
threatening marker.

Skipper Katy McLean made a good break to give England space while centre
Rachel Burford carried the ball on. England were awarded a penalty which led
to an attacking line-out deep in Wales’ 22. England drove forward and
when they couldn’t get over they recycled the ball out-wide through
the hands of McLean, Burford and Natasha Hunt before wing Staniford got on
the end of it and scored her fourth try of the tournament. McLean
wasn’t able to convert.

Wales battled back though and kept England at bay, with their forwards
putting England under pressure, but the pressure couldn’t amount to
points even when England lost prop Laura Keates to the sin-bin for stamping.

England in fact seemed unruffled being a player down and McLean soon
stroked England into a 8-0 lead with a 32nd minute penalty before a lovely
decoy run saw the fly-half then set-up centre Burford with a break. The
centre made some good space before off-loading to her fellow centre Scarratt
who raced 45 metres up-field to score on the left wing. McLean
couldn’t make the conversion, and Wales too had their chance at the
posts with a 38th minute penalty but couldn’t make the score, leaving
England 13-0 up at half-time.

England called upon some of their experienced chargers for the second-half
with No. 8 Sarah Hunter and flanker Margaret Alphonsi coming on to the
field. They immediately added some impetus but it was Player of the Match
Burnfield who took the first score of the second-half with a well-deserved
46th minute touchdown.

Lock Burnfield, whose work-rate was impressive throughout, took a nice high
pass from Burford after England had hammered Wales’ try line on the
right wing. The ball was recycled through the mid-field before Burford
set-up a deserving Burnfield.

Try number four came England’s way just minutes later with wing Kay
Wilson taking the spoils after some good work by Hunter in the corner,
quickly followed by Staniford’s second with Scarratt and Hunt at the
heart of the action taking England into a commanding 28-0 lead as they
headed into the final quarter.

Wales’, however, kept on battling and they regrouped to produce some
more solid defensive work to stop England scoring for the next quarter
despite some serious pressure coming from a determined England out-fit.

In the end Wales’ defence could hold no more and a quick tap penalty
by Hunter caught Wales on the back foot and she dived over the line with
ease. McLean couldn’t make the conversion but it didn’t matter
as England’s six try effort was enough to hand them a 33-0 victory.
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