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Lengthy injury stoppages as England hammer Wales in Gloucester

By PA
Abby Dow of England leaves the pitch on a stretcher after an injury during the TikTok Women's Six Nations match between England and Wales at Kingsholm Stadium (Photo by Catherine Ivill - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

England overcame the early loss of Abby Dow to continue the perfect start to their TikTok Women’s Six Nations title defence with a crushing 58-5 victory over Wales at Kingsholm.

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The Red Roses ran in 10 tries in a battle between previously unbeaten teams to post a third successive bonus-point win.

Wing Jess Breach and hooker Lark Davies crossed twice each as Wales were swept away, unable to cope with the power of the home pack who laid the foundations for a 21st successive victory.

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And England’s most impressive performance of the Six Nations yet was delivered in front of a 14,689 fans – their biggest home crowd for 12 years and highest outside of a World Cup.

Play was held up for several minutes early on after Dow suffered a painful injury that resulted in her being carried from the pitch on a stretcher and she was subsequently taken to hospital.

It was England who responded better to the lengthy break as Davies finished a rolling maul and soon after Abbie Ward was over.

Wales’ scrum was being consistently overpowered but the hosts’ line-out was malfunctioning, while their momentum was also affected by an indisciplined phase.

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Turning to the maul once more, however, their pack made 20 metres before the ball was spun to Breach, who was swept over by her footwork.

A second for Breach was sandwiched by two tries for the front row as Davies completed another maul before a rampaging Sarah Bern charged over from a line-out.

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England’s dominance up front was complete with Bern and Poppy Cleall leading the charge and replacement Natalia John was sent to the sin-bin because of an accumulation of defensive penalties from the visitors.

Alex Matthews was the next to score, but in the 69th minute the one-way traffic was finally pierced when Wales finally registered their first points through Kelsey Jones’ try from short range.

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Shaunagh Brown touched down just before John returned from the sin-bin and there were additional scores for Emily Scarratt and Sarah Hunter.

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finn 10 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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