England 34 USA 0
The reigning RBS 6 Nations champions battled hard against a physical and determined touring side to earn their first scalp of the season which also saw three new caps, Jane Leonard, Georgina Rozario and Gemma Sharples, blooded.
England were made to work hard for the victory and in fact the USA kept the hosts at bay until the 23rd minute when Saracens centre Rachael Burford broke the duck with a touchdown in the right corner. The score came following some sustained pressure by the home side which saw Saracens fullback Charlotte Barras tackled just short of the line. The support was there though and Burford answered England’s call with the first try of the afternoon.
The home side then had to wait until extra time of the first-half to extend their lead to 10-0, with the US holding their own. This time it was the turn of another Saracens player, centre Claire Allan, to put the points on the board. Wing Amber Penrith was at the heart of the move, making a good break to launch the scoring platform. Danielle Waterman carried the ball on into the USA’s 22 but she was brought down short of the line. England’s pack kept powering forward though and scrum-half Amy Turner had a go at the line before the ball was recycled out to the left wing for Sarah Hunter and then supporting Allan to secure the five crucial points on the board before half-time.
After the break England continued where they left off with prop Rochelle Clark scoring from a well-worked line-out catch and drive move. Fly-half Katy McLean converted to hand England the 17-0 advantage.
On 62 minutes Saracens’ Charlotte Barras was rewarded for her impressive efforts during the match with her first try of the season. The fullback, who was at the forefront of England’s attack all game, stretched England’s lead to 22-0.
As the USA began to tire the home side continued to show great determined to battle on to the end with replacement Sarah Beale scoring on the back of a pick-up from the back of the scrum. Wasps centre Michaela Staniford then rounded off proceedings for England with the sixth and final try of the afternoon on 79th minutes.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “I am very pleased with this performance. It took us a little time to settle when we were probably trying a bit too hard in the first quarter, but after that the team showed fantastic ambition and commitment all the way through to the final whistle.
“The encouraging thing about this performance is that it was a real team effort. The new caps held their own and the experienced heads were at the forefront of the game. This is a good platform for us to now work on as we look forward to the RBS 6 Nations in February.”
1 Rochelle Clark (Henley), 2 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 3 Katy Storie (Blaydon), 4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park), 5 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), 7 Jane Leonard (Wasps/Army), 8 Catherine Spencer (Worcester) (C), 9 Amy Turner (Richmond), 10 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park), 11 Amber Penrith (Cardiff Quins), 12 Rachael Burford (Saracens) (VC), 13 Claire Allan (Saracens), 14 Danielle Watermen (Clifton), 15 Charlotte Barras (Saracens). Replacements: 16 Emma Layland (Richmond), 17 Sophie Hemming (Clifton), 18 Sarah Beale (Leodiensians), 19 Gemma Sharples (Worcester), 20 Georgina Rozario (Plymouth Albion), 21 Alice Richardson (Richmond), 22 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Tries: Burford (23), Allan (47), Clark (43), Barras (62), Beale (73), Staniford (79)
Conversions: McLean, Richardson
Substitutions: Richardson for McLean (54), Hemming for Storie (54), Staniford for Penrith (58), Rozario for Turner (60), Layland for Garnett, Sharples for Leonard, Spencer for Beale (all 64).
1 Farrah Douglas (Chicago North Shore), 2 Lisa Butts (Berkeley Women’s all Blues), 3 Jamie Burke (Berkeley Women’s all Blues), 4 Shaina Turley (San Diego Surfers), 5 Stacey Baker (Philadelphia), 6 Liz Dilley (Washington), 7 Beckett Royce (Oregon Sports Union), 8 Blair Groefsema (Berkeley Women’s all Blues), 9 Kim Magrini (Keystone Rugby Club), 10 Jossy Tseng (Stanford University), 11 Nathalie Marchino (Berkeley Women’s all Blues), 12 Mel Kanuk (Maryland Stingers), 13 San Juanita Moreno (Oregon Sports Union), 14 Vanesha McGee (Philadelphia), 15 Ashley English (C) (Berkeley Women’s all Blues). Replacements: 16 Heather Jennings (Seattle), 17 Jaime Lange (Olde Girls of Glendale), 18 Kati McCormick (University Wisconsin), 19 Jillion Potter (Univ. of New Mexico), 20 Rose Whitmore (Berkeley Women’s all Blues), 21 Meg Crapster-Pregont (Cornell University), 22 Ashley Kmiecik (Emerald City Mudhens).
Referee: Clare Daniels
Touch judge: Deborah Innes
Touch judge: Peter Crouch
Fourth Official: Richard Kelly
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse