Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

England player ratings vs Ireland | 2024 Guinness Women's Six Nations

By Liam Heagney
England's Megan Jones celebrates scoring a try (Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

England player ratings live from Twickenham: This was a momentous day in London for John Mitchell’s side. Not only was there Murder on the Dancefloor at the interval with Sophie Ellis-Bextor belting out her hit tune, this was the afternoon where everything clicked for the title chasers on the pitch either side of the break.

ADVERTISEMENT

The rugby so far in 2024 under the baton of their new Kiwi head coach had been fits and starts, some bouts of clinical execution mixed with tumbleweed periods restrained by the concession of too many penalties and too many handling errors in the outings against Italy, Wales, and Scotland.

Round four, though, was the occasion when it all gelled, England winning 88-10 and scoring 14 tries in the process. Even their kicking accuracy upped its game with nine conversions getting tacked on during a match that highlighted the potential for Twickenham and seven other stadiums around the country to host a wonderful Rugby World Cup next year.

Video Spacer

England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

Video Spacer

England Women’s coach John Mitchell on the Red Roses squad

You knew something special was brewing as soon as a mid-morning train pulled in to stop at Clapham Junction and the PA system crackled into life with the message, “If you’re going to the rugby at Twickenham, good luck to the ladies.”

The English didn’t need any good fortune, though. Twenty years ago, when the hosts beat the Irish 51-10 at Twickenham, it was a fixture played in front of a meagre few hundred people on the morning of the men’s Six Nations game.

Fixture
Womens Six Nations
England Women's
88 - 10
Full-time
Ireland Women's
All Stats and Data

Two decades later, Marlie Packer and co were egged on by a bumper attendance of 48,778 in a fantastic standalone event that was a ringing endorsement for family-friendly early afternoon kick-offs.

Ireland came in the game having improved this term under Scott Bemand, the ex-English assistant who has taken over in Dublin. However, the sobering fact was that they had been kept scoreless to the tune of 144-0 in their past three fixtures with England and those numbers suggested how this renewal was likely to go.

ADVERTISEMENT

So it proved. Three quick-fire scores in six minutes warmed up the crowd nicely, making it 19-0 as early as the 13th minute and the bonus point try was bagged with a fantastic run from near halfway by second row Zoe Aldcroft.

There was temporary Irish respite, 25th-minute penalty points from Dannah O’Brien which was their first score in this fixture since a 61st-minute penalty try in the February 2019 meeting.

But momentum quickly swung back to England, player of the match Ellie Kildunne grounding three minutes later, and from there her team commandingly went on to extend their winning run in the women’s Six Nations championship to 28 matches, even outscoring Ireland two tries to nil when a player short due to Lucy Packer’s yellow.

France now await in Bordeaux next weekend to settle this year’s title battle. In the meantime, here are the England player ratings from a picture-perfect day at Twickenham:

ADVERTISEMENT

15. Ellie Kildunne – 9.5
Wasn’t immaculate but such was her enormous level of involvement there was always bound to be an error or two such as a limp first-half pass into touch. Bolshily claimed in midweek that she wants to become the world’s best player and she was definitely a performer who got Twickenham fans jumping out of their seats and cheering wildly.

Finished the opening half sweetly with a try and then an assist, and was no slouch in defence with an early second-half rip in her 22. Rounded it off with another loudly acclaimed try 12 minutes from the end and then her hat-trick finish six minutes later.

14. Abby Dow – 9
Wow, wow, wow… the Ellis-Bextor of rugby with the way she quickly moves her feet when hugging the touchline. Scored two first-half tries when skittling tacklers out wide and could have had a third but for a botched grounding. Also, had an appetite to switch wings similar to last weekend, her intervention in the line being key in her side’s third try. Clinched her hat-trick with a lovely sweep on 64 minutes.

13. Megan Jones – 8.5
Textbook finish for her 13th-minute try, with a brilliant reach out to place the ball. She scored again within a couple of minutes of England going down to 14 players with a sin-binning. An excellent, all-action 68 minutes.

12. Tatyana Heard – 8.5
Superb and very forthright in the carry to ensure the England attack was polished during her 63-minute stay. Sucked in the Irish defence and made them pay heavily.

11. Jess Breach – 8
Lost a couple of possessions in the opening half but came alive in the second period, similar to how she entertained last week in Edinburgh. Two tries were hers with England laying waste to Ireland out wide.

10. Holly Aitchison – 9
The orchestra needed a conductor and Aitchison was baton-perfect with the confidence flowing through her the more the game went on. What she did was best seen on 44 minutes when she could have kicked or gone right on halfway, but instead had the presence of mind to go left and England were soon running it in to score. Also solved her frustrations off the kicking tee, landing nine of the 14 conversions.

9. Natasha Hunt – 9
Sharp as a tack from the first second with her slick passing and her high-intensity work rate was showcased by how she initially exploited space and then got a second touch to score her team’s second try. Her hands fizzed throughout her 49 minutes. Her replacement Packer blotted her effort with a yellow carded penalty try offence just six minutes into her appearance.

1. Hannah Botterman – 7
Less general play razzle than in recent outings, but her set-piece was dominant and there were still exciting flashes such as her 31st-minute offload. Hooked on 45 minutes with a view to resting up for the French.

2. Lark Atkin-Davies – 7
Recalled following Amy Cokayne’s suspension, it was her polished break and offload that ignited England for their opening score. Sadly, lasted just 34 minutes as she took a bang to her ankle, ending her day prematurely as happened against Wales when she didn’t return from an interval HIA. Her latest injury was described post-game as not looking good with next week in mind.

3. Maud Muir – 7
Similar to Botterman, this was about doing the basics very well and leaving the swagger and silky skills to those around her over the course of her 49 minutes.

19. Morwenna Talling – 7.5
Promoted to start after Rosie Galligan pulled up with a dislocated thumb in the warm-up, she didn’t need much of an invite to get stuck in and she sure liked a dominant tackle.

5. Zoe Aldcroft – 9
Scored the bonus point try with a run from halfway that every winger would be envious of, waltzing through the Irish defence as if there was no one there. Plenty of engine room grunt as well. Watch out France.

6. Sadia Kabeya – 9
Fast becoming a wonderfully glue-type player in her team’s back row, stitching it all together and helping to provide the perfect balance. Her deserved reward was her team’s eighth try nine minutes into the second half. Left her opposite number Aoife Wafer, player of the match last week against the Welsh, anonymous. Also, an excellent carry after England had just been reduced to 14, her effort becoming the prompt for Jones to finish.

7. Marlie Packer – 8.5
Back at the helm after a rest on the bench, this brilliant ambassador for rugby was the consummate prop from the moment she led her team into the ground with a warm smile and a wave for the crowd that had gathered early to flattening the Ireland 10 with a sublime hand-off in the creation of the Kabeya try. Exited to a standing ovation on 61.

8. Alex Matthews – 8.5
The first game red-carding of Sarah Beckett has turned out to be a benefit to England as Matthews continued her excellent form with another rollicking, unstoppable effort.

Replacements:
England’s bench hit a bump, the card that was shown to Lucy Packer just six minutes after the sub scrum-half was introduced at the cost of a penalty try. Other than that, there was an encouraging upside to the bench.

With the game being won so early, Mitchell was able to get quite a few replacements on early, including his reserve props. Connie Powell’s first-half introduction at hooker was unfortunately for injury reasons but she carried well.

Emily Scarratt produced a defence-killing pop pass in the lead-up to a Kildunne score, while Maddie Feaunati was a delightful late try scorer.

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

D
Diarmid 10 hours ago
Players and referees must cut out worrying trend in rugby – Andy Goode

The guy had just beasted himself in a scrum and the blood hadn't yet returned to his head when he was pushed into a team mate. He took his weight off his left foot precisely at the moment he was shoved and dropped to the floor when seemingly trying to avoid stepping on Hyron Andrews’ foot. I don't think he was trying to milk a penalty, I think he was knackered but still switched on enough to avoid planting 120kgs on the dorsum of his second row’s foot. To effectively “police” such incidents with a (noble) view to eradicating play acting in rugby, yet more video would need to be reviewed in real time, which is not in the interest of the game as a sporting spectacle. I would far rather see Farrell penalised for interfering with the refereeing of the game. Perhaps he was right to be frustrated, he was much closer to the action than the only camera angle I've seen, however his vocal objection to Rodd’s falling over doesn't legitimately fall into the captain's role as the mouthpiece of his team - he should have kept his frustration to himself, that's one of the pillars of rugby union. I appreciate that he was within his rights to communicate with the referee as captain but he didn't do this, he moaned and attempted to sway the decision by directing his complaint to the player rather than the ref. Rugby needs to look closely at the message it wants to send to young players and amateur grassroots rugby. The best way to do this would be to apply the laws as they are written and edit them where the written laws no longer apply. If this means deleting laws such as ‘the put in to the scrum must be straight”, so be it. Likewise, if it is no longer necessary to respect the referee’s decision without questioning it or pre-emptively attempting to sway it (including by diving or by shouting and gesticulating) then this behaviour should be embraced (and commercialised). Otherwise any reference to respecting the referee should be deleted from the laws. You have to start somewhere to maintain the values of rugby and the best place to start would be giving a penalty and a warning against the offending player, followed by a yellow card the next time. People like Farrell would rapidly learn to keep quiet and let their skills do the talking.

1 Go to comments
FEATURE
FEATURE How the line between forwards and backs is becoming a blur How the line between forwards and backs is becoming a blur
Search