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Rugby - 10. August 2011.

England Women through to Nations Cup Final



England Women will play Canada in the final of the Nations Cup on Saturday,
kick off 9pm BST, at Appleby College in Ontario, Canada.

After England’s 22-10 victory over the hosts last night, both England
and Canada banked the top two slots in the round robin international
tournament, while the USA and South Africa will now play off for the third
and fourth placed rankings also on Saturday.

England secured the victory in a tough and physical clash thanks to tries
from substitutes Margaret Alphonsi, Amy Garnett and Natasha Hunt.
Lichfield’s Emily Scarratt also kicked two conversions and a penalty.

With Canada also going into the game with two good wins under their belts
over the USA and South Africa, England knew they had a battle on their hands
and Canada immediately underlined that with only a try saving tackle by
Danielle Waterman stopping the Canucks from scoring early on.

With eight minutes on the clock Canada then had the opportunity to put
three points on the board with a penalty but they couldn’t convert
leaving both sides still waiting to break the deadlock.

A solid scrum from England provided the backs with a strong platform to
execute a well-timed training move resulting in centre Scarratt creating the
go forward and taking the pressure away from the England half.

Canada still continued to make gain line though but with a turn over at the
line-out England were able to move the ball wide and were soon rewarded with
a penalty which Scarratt made no mistake in converting.

Canada continued to press hard and retaliated by attacking well through the
England midfield. However, scramble defence by England resulted in a further
turnover. An elusive dummy from Vice-captain Alice Richardson saw her break
from England’s half and into the 22. Quick hands saw Scarratt go just
two metres short from the try-line, while the ever present Rochelle Clark
almost powered her way over the line but Canada’s defence held firm.

As the game neared the half-way mark Canada took the lead for the first
time with a well worked try scored by Cheryl Phillips, but they
couldn’t make the conversion leaving the score at 5-3.

From the restart, No. 8 Sarah Hunter made a 20 metre break showing some
fantastic footwork. Leading by example the captain managed to provide some
good secure ball allowing the advancing England backline to push on, but
again England were unable to turn the pressure into points, leaving them two
points adrift at the break.

Come the second-half and England made some substitutions which saw flanker
Alphonsi and prop Claire Purdy take to the field. England started with
intent and chased the kick off which resulted in Alphonsi turning over the
ball.

Finally England’s patience paid off as they continued to build phases
to breakdown Canada’s impressive defence. Full back Waterman make a
good break which then saw scrum half Hunt touchdown in the corner for her
first ever England try and also a crucial try for the tourists on 45
minutes.

England kept the momentum going with some great link play by Hunt, Sarah
McKenna and Waterman which led to Alphonsi charging over the line for her
second try of the tournament. With Scarratt successful with the boot England
took charge with a 15-5 lead.

Canada were by no means down and out though and with 70 minutes on the
clock Kayla Mack made a good break down the blind side to cross for the home
side’s second try. Again they couldn’t convert leaving the score
at 15-10.

With just three minutes left in the game England wrapped up proceedings
with another good try which saw hooker Garnett, playing in her 99th game for
England, muscle her way over the try-line for the decisive score. With
Scarratt once again converting England took the 22-10 victory.

England Head Coach Gary Street said: “This was a very satisfying and
rewarding experience against a tough and physical Canada side. Once again, I
put pressure on our young team by playing different combinations and
experiments but we came through with flying colours.

“Canada played as well as I have seen them since 2006 and their
physical and kick orientated game takes time to breakdown. We are now
looking forward to the Saturday’s final. We still have plenty of fresh
players in the squad so we are relishing the opportunity of playing Canada
again.”
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