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Rampant England seal dominant Ireland win at Twickenham

By Martyn Thomas
Abby Dow scores for England against Ireland at Twickenham. (Photo by Steve Bardens - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

England remain on course for a sixth successive Guinness Women’s Six Nations title following a commanding 88-10 victory against Ireland at Twickenham.


The Red Roses put on a show in front of the 48,778 fans who travelled to south-west London, running in 14 tries as they stretched their winning run in the Championship to 27 matches.

Abby Dow and Ellie Kildunne both helped themselves to hat-tricks, while Megan Jones and Jess Breach each crossed the whitewash twice.

Ireland’s reply came via the boot of Dannah O’Brien and a second-half penalty try.

It means the Red Roses travel to Bordeaux to play France next weekend with a third successive Grand Slam – and sixth clean sweep in a row – firmly in their sights.

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

England suffered a late set-back ahead of kick-off, as Rosie Galligan was forced to withdraw having suffered a thumb injury during the warm-up. Mowenna Talling was promoted into the second row while Lizzie Hanlon took the Sale Sharks lock’s place on the replacements’ bench.

Galligan has impressed during the Championship but it was never likely to be a change that derailed the Red Roses juggernaut, and so it proved.


Much of the talk pre-match had centred around how long Ireland – revitalised against Wales last week following a disappointing home defeat to Italy in round two – could stay in the contest at Twickenham.

The answer: Less than 19 minutes. That is how long it took the hosts to rack up their fourth try bonus-point of the Championship and leave most of the bumper crowd dreaming of next weekend’s Grand Slam decider in Bordeaux.

Of course, there is a reason England hold a healthy lead at the top of the World Rugby Women’s Rankings and are in the midst of a 27-match winning run in the Women’s Six Nations.

The Red Roses play with an intensity in both attack and defence that few teams – maybe none other than France, New Zealand and Canada – can live with and twists opposition teams into knots.


Ireland’s defensive plans were shredded in the seventh minute at Twickenham as Lark Atkin-Davies tore through a gap in the visitors’ line and Alex Matthews took the Red Roses deep into their territory.

After the Red Roses number eight was brought down the ball was recycled to the right wing, where Dow handed off the covering Lauren Delany and dotted down.

Aitchison missed the conversion but England extended their advantage within three minutes following a scintillating break from Natasha Hunt. The scrum-half was brought down before the line, but was on hand moments later to pick up from the breakdown and snipe over the try-line.

The Red Roses had Ireland where they wanted them and in the 13th minute Dow came off her wing to set the platform for Jones to power over.

It had been a whirlwind six minutes but the hosts were far from done and Zoe Aldcroft was soon exploiting more space in the Irish defence, taking a pass just beyond halfway and backing her speed and strength to get to the line.

Aitchison added her third conversion of the afternoon to give England a 26-0 lead with barely a quarter of the match played.

Dannah O’Brien got the visitors on the board in the 24th minute, becoming the first Irishwoman to score against England since Clare Molloy in November 2018 – also at Twickenham – in the process but it continued to be one-way traffic.

Kildunne got in on the act in the 28th minute, following a well-worked lineout move involving Tatyana Heard and Aitchison, before Dow added England’s sixth try with less than four minutes of the half remaining.

That effort came shortly after Dow had been denied a score by a knock-on and the half would end with a Jones try ruled out for a forward pass.

The only blot on England’s copy book as they turned round 38-3 in front came in the form of an injury to Atkin-Davies, who limped off with five minutes of the first half remaining.

It was a similar story at the start of the second half as Breach raced away down the left wing to score a stunning seventh England try before Sadia Kabeya added an eighth following consultation between referee Aurélie Groizeleau and her TMO.

Credit to Ireland, they never took a backward step at Twickenham and were rewarded with a penalty try in the 56th minute after replacement England scrum-half Lucy Packer was adjudged to have brought down a maul illegally as it trundled towards the line.

Packer was sent to the sin-bin but the Red Roses have grown accustomed to playing with 14 this tournament and they again showed it has little impact on their effectiveness.

Following good work from Kabeya, Jones glided past several attempted Irish tackles to score England’s ninth try – less than two minutes after Packer had left the field.

And with the Harlequins player still off the pitch, Jones and Kildunne created space on the right wing for Dow to speed into and complete her hat-trick.

Kildunne scored her second and third try of the match in the final 13 minutes – either side of Breach’s second – while Maddie Feaunati crossed the whitewash for the first time in her Test career to complete a resounding win.


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