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England score eight tries past Wales at Ashton Gate

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 30: Ellie Kildunne of England scores her team's eighth try whilst being tackled by Lisa Neumann of Wales during the Guinness Women's Six Nations 2024 match between England and Wales at Ashton Gate on March 30, 2024 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Harry Trump - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

John Mitchell’s Red Roses racked up almost 50 points to beat Wales 46-10 in Bristol in the second round of the Women’s Six Nations.

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First-half tries from four forwards from West Country clubs, Maud Muir and Zoe Aldcroft (both Gloucester-Hartpury), and Hannah Botterman and Lark Atkin-Davies (Bristol Bears), gave England the bonus point at the end of the first half.

While the first half was for the forwards, the backs took centre stage on the scoresheet early in the second with Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins) and Abby Dow (Trailfinders) opening the scoring.

Bristol Bears scrum-half Keira Bevan scored Wales’s only try of the match on familiar territory at Ashton Gate, but despite a late resurgence, they were unable to score a second.

England added to their scoreline with a try from player of the match Rosie Galligan and a second from Kildunne in front of a 19,705-strong crowd.

Fixture
Womens Six Nations
England Women's
46 - 10
Full-time
Wales Women's
All Stats and Data

Gloucester-Hartpury’s Lleucu George put the first points on the board after Wales capitalised on their early possession to earn a 3 – 0 lead.

Soon after, Dow went flying down the wing, bursting through red shirts to move England within metres. Although the winger was brought down before she could cross the whitewash, Muir was able to secure the five points to put England ahead after seven minutes.

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A brilliant lineout throw from Atkin-Davies set up England’s attack perfectly for their second score as Aldcroft crashed over the line on her 50th international appearance after a speedy passage of play from the Red Roses. Holly Aitchison, who plays her club rugby for Bristol Bears, was able to convert this time to give England a 12-3 lead at Ashton Gate.

Wales had an opportunity from the maul and remained camped out in England’s 22, but the Red Roses worked to regain possession and quickly turned the tables as they rapidly found themselves within five metres of the Welsh line, rather than their own, thanks to a break and subsequent kick from centre Meg Jones.

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Botterman, who had initially stolen the ball from Wales during their attacking passage of play just minutes before, then provided England’s third next to the posts at her club’s home ground as she dived over from close range. It was her second in two weeks after she scored England’s first in Italy in round one, and was duly converted by Aitchison.

Luck was not going Wales’s way, and another attacking opportunity was squandered by a forward pass before England won the penalty at the scrum that followed to protect their 19-3 lead.

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Wales put in another attacking shift to force England to defend their try line again, but Aitchison read the play in front of the posts perfectly to steal an interception and push the visitors back outside of the 22, denying them another opportunity within five metres of the line.

England scored their bonus-point try in the 41st minute as Atkin-Davies dotted down from the driving maul to end the half with a 24-3 lead.

Despite the scoreline, Wales had held the majority of the possession for much of the first half but were unable to convert their attack into points despite their best efforts.

England started the second half with intent and were set up well by a break from Aldcroft which allowed Kildunne to score her third try in two weeks as she gathered a low-flying ball to stretch over the line in the corner for her side’s fifth of the day.

Minutes later England scored again, this time in the opposite corner. Tatyana Heard made the metre-destroying break this time before Dow was released in the corner by Mo Hunt and Jess Breach to add the sixth try.

Bevan darted her way to score Wales’s first try, well-deserved after 53 minutes without at Ashton Gate, as she took a penalty quickly to exploit a gap under the posts after a strong carrying effort from the forward pack, in particular replacement prop Sisilia Tuipulotu.

The Welsh scrum-half dealt England the first five-point blow to their scoreline so far in the tournament as she scored the first try past them in the 133 minutes they had played until that moment.

Saracens’ Galligan powered her way out of the grasp of Welsh two players as she muscled over the line, driving low to score their seventh in the 58th minute, converted by Aitchison to take the scoreline to 41-10.

Just after the hour mark, Kildunne brilliantly finished her second try after Jones gave her the pass, judging her footing perfectly to get the ball down before being bundled into touch by Lisa Neumann, the England fullback scoring her second brace in as many weeks in the process.

Replacement hooker Connie Powell was instrumental in totting up the metres for England throughout the match, regularly speeding her way past the Welsh defence which resulted in her topping the stats for line breaks with three, the same as Dow. Powell was also fourth for metres made (66), with only backs Jones, Dow, and Kildunne making more.

Molly Reardon made her debut for Wales when she entered the field in the 72nd minute, just after Wales’s dogged defence had earned them a penalty on their own line to deny England their ninth try.

The new-found momentum continued for the visitors, who strung together some excellent phases of attack in the final ten minutes, but were held up by England who brilliantly held up a powering Welsh maul.

Alex Callender, who had been almost faultless for Wales, knocked on the ball in the 79th minute as she went in search of the try line, which saw England hold onto the ball until the final whistle to see out the game. Callender did however top the carrying stats with 16 in what was an otherwise impressive performance.

The win sees England retain their place at the top of the table after the first day of round two with ten points, closely followed by France in second after their win against Scotland earlier in the day added four points to take them up to nine.

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2 Comments
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Courtney 75 days ago

I think Wales are certainly becoming a fitter unit, they played with purpose for the full 80 minutes, the intensity, possession, territory and metres gained must all be up on previous years (although I am not sure how you measure intensity). Since turning professional England have always had a core of players they built around, Wales could benefit by doing the same.

B
Brian 75 days ago

Overall I’d give Red Roses 6/7 out of 10, they left 3 or 4 tries out there in the second half. Wales’ plan worked as by holding back 5 of their best players until the 2nd half they were able to avoid conceding 60 or more points. On the positive side for them is that Wales played as well as they have against England in the last 9 years. or so..

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