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The John Mitchell verdict on Amy Cokayne red in latest England win

By Liam Heagney
England boss John Mitchell in Edinburgh (Photo by Jan Kruger/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

John Mitchell has given his take on the red card brandished to Amy Cokayne after she was given two foul play yellow cards during Saturday’s 46-0 Guinness Six Nations win for England in Scotland.


The numerical disadvantage didn’t greatly impede the title-chasing English – they ‘won’ the hooker’s 10-minute first-half absence 7-0 and after she saw yellow again and then red in the 55th minute, they also ‘won’ the ensuing 25 minutes of remaining play 17-0.

However, it now remains to be seen if her round three match day punishment was a sufficient sanction or whether there could be a disciplinary hearing sequel that could jeopardise her availability for her team’s remaining two games in their six-in-a-row title bid, beginning with next Saturday’s Twickenham fixture versus Ireland.

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Asked if he had any complaints about the through-the-horizontal and shoulder-to-head contact yellow cards for Cokayne, who was playing her first Test match in 12 months, Mitchell said: “No. End of the day we encourage the girls to play on the edge. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t. Amy has just come back.

“I guess it just creates awareness for all of us that we got to make sure that we get our tackle height right. I thought her first card was a little bit difficult I think because the player did return to safety in that instance, so it probably deserved a penalty but yeah, we will learn from the tackle height.”

Womens Six Nations
Scotland Women's
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Although England scored eight unanswered tries and ‘nilled’ Scotland at their sold-out Hive venue in Edinburgh, the 46-point margin of success was the third time this season that the margin of victory for the English was down on the results achieved last year during the final campaign with Simon Middleton at the helm.

These numbers were of concern to new boss Mitchell, though. “I wouldn’t say we are struggling. It’s the wrong terminology. It might be your terminology but we’re certainly not struggling. We’re presenting ourselves with lots of opportunities.


“We just need to continue to trust the way we are playing the game, trust each other, trust who we are with and when we need to execute. I’d rather be in that situation than not, presenting those opportunities. We’re in a good place.

“The intent around the plans and the plan to execute was awesome,” he added. “The conditions, people who weren’t here won’t realise how difficult it was.

“I thought the way that we controlled the game in the first half was terrific even though we left a bit there. To win and still have the ability to learn and find growth in our game I think is a good place to be in.”

Veteran Marlie Packer, who skippered the team to wins over Italy and Wales in rounds one and two, was only a replacement in Scotland, but she played that role well by coming on and scoring in the 72nd minute.


Will the 34-year-old be back in the starting line-up to tackle the Irish next weekend, or will the starting back row again consist of round three skipper Zoe Aldcroft, Sadia Kabeya, and Alex Matthews?

“Marlie is our team captain, Zoey is also our captain today – we have got wonderful leaders. We have got a leader group that any one of them at any point in time might have to stand up and be captain.

“You have got to prepare for the future as well because you don’t always have everyone healthy or available so for anyone to step into the shoes of captaincy is important to understand and we also have to manage load as well.

“Marlie was managed today, and it just goes to show what sort of depth we have as this exciting back row that started the game today were awesome.”



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Abe 3 hours ago
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Turlough 7 hours ago
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