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Red Roses win with eight tries against a scoreless Scotland

By Matt Merritt
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 13: Amy Cokayne of England. goes over for the first try during the Guinness Women's Six Nations 2024 match between Scotland and England at Hive Stadium - Edinburgh Rugby Stadium on April 13, 2024 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jan Kruger - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images )

England ran in eight tries in Edinburgh to win 46-0 against Scotland in round three of the Women’s Six Nations.

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First-half tries from Amy Cokayne, Abby Dow, and Ellie Kildunne gave the visitors a 17-0 lead at the break. A further five tries followed in the second half from Sadia Kabeya, a brace from Jess Breach, a second for Kildunne, and Marlie Packer.

For the second time in the tournament, England were reduced to 14 players due to a red card, as try-scorer Cokayne was shown two yellows and sent off for the remainder of the match in the 55th minute.

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With Scottish Rugby proudly announcing they had sold out the Hive for England’s visit and the game starting on a typically dreich Edinburgh afternoon the home team were hopeful of keeping up the form that saw them beat Wales in round one and stay within ten points of France a week later.

The relentless Red Roses juggernaut would not be denied though, and despite the home team continuing their trend of reducing the scoreline against the Red Roses year on year, it was still a relatively straightforward win for the team in white.

The weather itself seemed to be firmly in Scotland’s corner, the wet conditions leading to a number of fumbled balls for the Red Roses, including from captain Zoe Aldcroft after benefitting from a rampaging Hannah Botterman run that put her into space in sight of the try line. It was a perfect encapsulation of the opening five minutes of the game as England’s passing game was defeated time and again by Edinburgh’s soggy conditions.

The returning Cokayne showed once again why she’s world-class, shrugging off a Lana Skeldon tackle to open England’s account with barely any rust despite being out for nearly a year.

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With 11 minutes on the clock, they added a second, eagle-eyed Kabeya stretching the Scotland defence and delaying her pass a split second to provide Dow space with barely two yards between her and the line. Dow did what Dow always does and England were up by ten points.

Fixture
Womens Six Nations
Scotland Women's
0 - 46
Full-time
England Women's
All Stats and Data

As the first quarter came to an end, Scotland threatened, winning a scrum penalty and benefitting from a knock-on that put them firmly in the Roses’ half, a second scrum would be lost, but another knock-on presented their best opportunity yet and a series of passes looked like leading to something until Botterman stepped in to intercept and kick the ball away.

A knock-on in the 25th minute denied Breach a try, but Scotland held firm and earned a penalty to kick the ball away. It would take England a few more minutes of plugging away before Maud Muir scored what England thought was their third try, though Cokayne found herself yellow carded on review due to a tackle in the build-up and the score was disallowed.

Meg Jones, finding space in the 33rd minute, let loose a dribbling grubber kick and Kildunne scooped it up, twisting to touch down between the posts to score the Red Roses’ elusive third try of the game, and her fifth of the tournament. Holly Aitchison slotted the conversion, conquering the swirling winds that had denied her previous kicks.

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Half-time couldn’t come soon enough for the home team who had struggled to put together more than four phases without losing possession. As the teams left the field the sun broke through the clouds giving hope that the second half would bring better opportunities.

First blood of the second half would come to England though as their scrum drove Scotland’s forwards over their own line, allowing Kabeya to grab the ball and drop over the try line herself. Scotland, playing against the wind in the second half, continued to struggle to retain possession despite some glimmers of the game they were trying to stitch together.

A scrum in the 51st minute saw Scotland penalised and the Red Roses, loosening up with the knowledge they could always roll back and try again, played the ball through hands, releasing Breach to soar down the left wing.

Cokayne showed her skill again, ripping the ball at the ruck inside her own half and brought down just shy of the line by Emma Orr. However, TMO intervention showed that Cokayne had led with the shoulder in the tackle and a second yellow card saw her sent from the field. Scotland had 25 minutes to make their numbers advantage count.

With a scrum penalty in their favour Scotland, confusingly, chose to kick the ball away at a ruck, landing it comfortably in Breach’s hands. The Harlequins winger danced through navy blue shirts for her second. Kildunne would add her own second a scant few minutes later to put them seven tries clear with 15 minutes still to play.

A huge tackle from Lisa Thomson denied Kildunne a third and was greeted with a roar from the home crowd. Regular Red Roses captain Packer, forced to spend most of the game on the substitutes bench, made the most of her late addition to the field with a try in the 72nd minute.

As the clock ticked down Flower of Scotland rang out from the raised voices of 6000 fans in the stands. Scotland clung on to the possibility of keeping their deficit against England under 50 points for the first time since 2018. A penalty with seconds to go allowed them to regroup, take a breath, and kick the ball into the stands with the Red Roses forced to accept a 46-point victory.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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