Enya Breen carries the ball for Ireland. Ben Brady/INPHO

Champions England rush Ireland for 14 tries to keep Grand Slam on track

It was a chastening defeat for Scott Bemand’s side.

England 88

Ireland 10

A DAY TO forget for Ireland women’s rugby as Scott Bemand’s side suffer a 78-point defeat to Six Nations five-in-a-row champions England at Twickenham.

After their heroic victory against Wales last week, this was crushing defeat for Ireland.

There were hat-tricks for Player of the Match Ellie Kildunne and Abby Dow, while centre Megan Jones crossed over twice as England finished up with a blistering 14 tries. A penalty for Dannah O’Brien and a penalty try after an illegal tackle on Linda Djougang during a maul is all that England were willing to cough up in change.

The signs of a chastening defeat were clear from the opening 20 minutes as the hosts stormed in with three tries through Dow, scrum-half Natasha Hunt and Megan Jones. Zoe Aldcroft wrapped up the bonus point in the 19th minute as Ireland’s defence was utterly blitzed. 

O’Brien put Ireland on the board with a penalty shortly after but England rushed in for two more tries before the break through Dow and Kildunne to put them 35 points ahead.

England continued their relentless drive after the restart, adding two more tries in the opening 10 minutes courtesy of Jess Breach and Sadia Kabeya who stretched over on the turn after some brilliant work by Marlie Packer. The referee needed to consult with the TMO for the score but the replay footage was conclusive that she did indeed touch down at the post.

Ireland were offered few invitations into English territory but when they advanced on 57 minutes, they managed to squeeze over from a lineout maul. The referee awarded a penalty try and brandished a yellow card to Lucy Packer for tackling Djougang low during the maul.

England’s furious response came swiftly as Jones, Dow and Kildunne opened the Ireland defence to push England into a 71-10 lead. Out-half Aitchison, who kicked nine conversions in all today, also helped herself to a try as did replacement Maddie Feaunati.

It was a day of few positives for Ireland but the difference in professional standards between the two nations cannot be overstated. Scotland will call to Kingspan Stadium for the final round on 27 April. England will look to add their sixth title on the bounce, and complete the Grand Slam, against France.

Ireland scorers:

Tries: Penalty Try


Penalties: Dannah O’Brien [1 from 1]

England scorers:

Tries: Abby Dow [3], Natasha Hunt [1], Megan Jones [2], Zoe Alcroft [1], Ellie Kildunne [3], Sadia Kabeya [1], Jess Breach [1], Holly Aitchison [1], Maddie Feaunati [1]

Conversions: Holly Aitchison [9 from 14]

England: 15. Ellie Kildunne; 14. Abby Dow, 13. Megan Jones [Sydney Gregson '67], 12. Tatayana Heard [Emily Scarrett '63], 11. Jess Breach; 10. Holly Aitchison, 9. Natasha Hunt [Lucy Packer '49]; 1. Hannah Botterman [Mackenzie Carson '44], 2. Lark Atkin-Davies [Connie Powell '34], 3. Maud Muir [Kelsey Clifford '49]; 4. Rosie Galligan, 5. Zoe Aldcroft; 6. Sadia Kabeya, 7. Marlie Packer [Maddie Feaunati '61], 8. Alex Matthews.

Ireland: 15 Lauren Delany [Meabh Deely HT], 14 Katie Corrigan, 13 Eve Higgins [Enya Breen HT], 12 Aoife Dalton, 11 Beibhinn Parsons, 10 Dannah O’Brien, 9 Aiobheann Reilly [Molly Scuffil-McCabe ' 59]; 1 Linda Djougang [Sadhbh McGrath '62], 2 Neve Jones [Clíodhna Moloney '44], 3 Christy Haney, 4 Dorothy Wall, 5 Hannah O’Connor [Fiona Tuite '44], 6 Aoife Wafer, 7 Edel McMahon , 8 Brittany Hogan [Shannon Ikahihifo '55]

Referee: Aurélie Groizeleau

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