Spain 5 England A 10
England A Women ran in two tries to secure a 10-5 victory against Spain in Gijon on Sunday.
England and Worcester wing Katherine Merchant and Darlington Mowden Park Sharks' Jenny Edwards touched down for the tries to hand England A their second win in eight days.
England A Head Coach Mike Barnett said: "This was a very tough game and Spain made us work really hard for the victory. The wet conditions made the game tricky as both sides made too many handling errors, but we defended well and put a lot of pressure on them, and when we could keep the ball we scored.
"Spain are a very passionate and committed team so I am really pleased that we managed to grind out this win, and there were also some good performances from our young players who made a real impression on the match."
England A had to overcome the loss of centre Abigail Chamberlain early on when she suffered an injury, but they kept their composure to secure a 5-0 lead at half time. It was England winger Merchant, who last weekend also touched down for England in the RBS 6 Nations, who put the points on the board.
A good break by forward Rowena Burnfield, who was also involved in last week's Six Nations victory, saw England gain vital space into Spain's 22. Burnfield then brushed off several tackles to off load to Bristol's Kim Oliver, and then Merchant who made the final yards. Natasha Hunt couldn't add the conversion.
Barnett made a raft of changes after the break bringing on all his replacements, but England had to wait until the 75th minute to make any more impression on the score-board. This time a good passage of play saw the ball recycled out from the left to the right wing, and Edwards who worked hard across the paddock came across to score in the corner. The conversion was again missed.
Spain, however, didn't give up and their hard work was rewarded in the final play of the game. A good break by Barbara Pla saw her come close to scoring, but she was tackled to the ground, but kept the momentum going by popping the ball up to scrum half Isabel Rodriquez who scored. With Spain missing the conversion England took the 10-5 victory.
England A are next in action against the Nomads on March 13th at Esher RFC, kick off 530pm.
15 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond), 12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), 11 Natasha Hunt (Bristol), 10 Danielle Knight (Lichfield), 9 Georgina Rozario (Bristol), 1 Laura Keates (Worcester), 2 Emma Layland (Richmond), 3 Katy Storie (Team Northumbria), 4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 5 Natalie Binstead (Wasps), 6 Gemma Sharples (Worcester), 7 Sonia Green (C) (Saracens), 8 Karen Jones (Worcester), Replacements: 16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 17 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), 18 Jenny Brightmore (Worcester), 19 Marlie Packer (Bristol), 20 Sarah Guest (Worcester), 21 Rose Fong (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks),
22 Jennifer Edwards (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Tries: Merchant, Edwards
Substitutions: Crowley for Keates (HT), Brightmore for Binstead (50), Packer for Sharples, Gust for Rozario (both 57), Edwards for Knight (62), Fleetwood for Layland (66)
England A Fixtures:
Feb 7th, England A v Nomads, KO 4pm Esher RFC WON 12-10
Feb 14th, Spain v England A, KO 1230pm local time, Gijon Las Mestas Stadium WON 10-5
March 13th, England A v Nomads, KO 530pm local time, Esher RFC
March 19th, France A v Spain, KO 515pm local time, Rennes Stade Velodrome
photos Janos Schmidt
photos Janos Schmidt