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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.

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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.”

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

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.

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“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.

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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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Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

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Turlough 7 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

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