Spirited Ireland test England but run out of steam at Twickenham

Adam Griggs’ side scored three tries but suffered a 37-15 defeat in their second November international.

England women 37

Ireland women 15

ADAM GRIGGS’ IRELAND went toe-to-toe with hot favourites England but could not match the depth of the hosts as they went down to their second defeat of the November schedule thanks to a hat-trick from home wing Lydia Thompson.

The visitors were hit by early injuries and conceded three tries in the first half an hour before hitting back and living with the World Cup runners-up for an hour.

Sarah McKenna and Eimear Considine Eimear Considine in action. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

In the end, the difference between the two sides was the finishing of Thompson who scored three times in 18 second-half minutes to keep the hosts out of reach.

But Ireland played at pace and scored three tries with stand-out performances from flanker Claire Molloy, wing Eimear Considine and fullback Laura Delany which gives encouragement for the Six Nations.

The form lines were hardly encouraging for Ireland going into this match on the back of a 19-10 defeat to the USA who were thumped 57-5 by the English two weeks ago.

Head coach Griggs shuffled his pack, making five changes up front to beef up his pack, but they were on the back foot from the word go with England camped in the Irish 22.

The visitors were not helped by out-half Nikki Caughey limping off with a knee injury after 18 minutes, handing a debut to Ellen Murphy, and to hooker Emma Hooban whose match ended after 24 minutes.

By then the Irish were 10-0 down after scores from England hooker Heather Kerr who made the most of a lineout drive and wing Kelly Smith who finished smartly in the corner.

England also had two scores ruled out by the TMO before prop Vickii Cornborough crashed over to make it 15-0.

Ireland were staring down the barrel but hit back with two tries of their own before the break.

Claire Molloy and Vicky Fleetwood Claire Molloy scored one of the Irish tries. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

They played the final five minutes of the first half in English territory and were rewarded when wing Considine went over and Delany scored a brilliant solo effort from 35 minutes after wrong-footing the England defence with a show-and-go to close the cap to five points.

Ireland traded blows but England landed the sucker punch when wing Thompson dropped on a kick through from Zoe Harrison and the hosts emptied their experienced bench.

It looked like curtains when Thompson sprinted in for her second but the spirited Irish hit back through flanker Malloy after 65 minutes.

England scorers:

Tries: Kerr, Smith, Cornborough, Thompson [3], O’Donnell
Conversion: Daly-Mclean

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Ireland scorers:

Tries: Considine, Delany, Molloy

ENGLAND: Sarah McKenna; Lydia Thompson, Carys Williams, Tatyana Heard (Rachel Burford 57), Kelly Smith; Zoe Harrison (Katy Daly-Mclean 57), Leanne Riley (Claudia MacDonald 75); Vickii Cornborough (Ellena Perry 69) , Heather Kerr (Lark Davies 57), Hannah Botterman (Shaunagh Brown 62), Zoe Aldcroft (Catherine O’Donnell 62), Abbie Scott, Poppy Cleal (Marlie Packer HT), Vicky Fleetwood, Sarah Hunter (captain).

IRELAND: Lauren Delany; Eimear Considine, Sene Naoupu (captain), Michelle Claffey, Laura Sheehan (Beibhinn Parsons 69); Nikki Caughey (Ellen Murphy 18), Nicole Cronin (Ailsa Hughes 62); Lindsay Peat (Laura Feely 66), Emma Hooban (Sarah Mimnagh 24, Fiona Ready HT), Leah Lyons, Aoife McDermott, Nicola Fryday (Claire McClaughlin 58), Jeamie Deacon (Edel McMahon 51), Claire Molloy, Juliet Short.

Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron (SA).

Attendance: 10,513. 

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Adam Hathaway

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