2016-17 England Women International Rugby Women Ireland Women Six Nations Women

Six Nations. Ireland overpowered by England

Ireland Women were overpowered by a clinical England as they shipped four second half tries to lose the Six Nations Grand Slam decider 7 – 34 at a wet and windy Donnybrook on Friday night.

An early try by Amy Wilson Hardy was the only score in a tight first half. However, England pulled away in the second period with tries from Laura Keates, Amy Cokayne, Emily Scarratt and Lydia Thompson. Ireland’s only response was a 66th minute try from Leah Lyons.

Ireland (0) 7

TRY: Leah Lyons.

CON: Nora Stapleton

England (5) 34

TRY: Amy Wilson Hardy, Laura Keates, Amy Cokayne, Emily Scarratt, Lydia Thompson.

CON: Emily Scarratt (3).

PEN: Emily Scarratt.

Ireland Women faced the elements in the first half and they produced one of their best halves of rugby as they restricted England to five points. Their scrum and lineout were on top, with Marie Louise Reilly dominating the aerial battles on her 50th cap.

Ireland’s Marie Louise Reilly dominated the aerial battle on her 50th cap for Ireland.
© Ian Humes Photography | The Front Row Union

Jenny Murphy had the game of her life in the centre, the Leinster player involved in everything good about Ireland. Alison Miller created problems every time she got the ball and Claire Molloy was a constant thorn in the English attack slowing down or turning over the England ball every chance she got. Larissa Muldoon kept the pack under control with her constant chatter and chiding and Sophie Spence and Paula Fitzpatrick responded with powerful displays.

Unfortunately for the home side, they were up against a strong English side, and, with the magnificent Scarratt calling the shots in midfield, they had a true superstar at the peak of her game.

England’s Emily Scarratt had a huge influence on the game.
© Ian Humes Photography | The Front Row Union

It was no coincidence that it was a long skip pass from Scarratt that put Wilson Hardy in for the only score of the first half, after a period of pressure on the Ireland line. Scarratt missed the difficult conversion from out wide to leave the score at 0 – 5 after 17 minutes.

Ireland responded well, with Murphy and Millar leading the charge. Unfortunately Nora Stapleton had an uncharacteristic off night with the boot, with a few misplaced kicks relieving pressure on the English defence. However, by the end of the half, the Irish were camped in the English red zone and really should have come away with a score. Sene Naoupu and Fitzpatrick both had chances but the visitor’s defence held firm and the teams turned round with the score reading 0 – 5 to England.

Ireland lost Muldoon and Molloy early in the second half and England began to get on top. Scarratt once again put England in the right place and, after a period of pressure from the English pack, replacement prop Keates crossed for an unconverted try.

A break by Scarrett once again wreaked havoc in the Irish defence and replacement Mairead Coyne was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on, Ireland somewhat fortunate not to have Tyrrell carded for the same offence moments earlier. Scarrett knocked over the resultant penalty and within minutes the wonderful Scarrett sent hooker Cokayne through for England’s third try. Scarrett added the conversion and England had built up a 0 – 20 lead by the 62nd minute.

Ulster’s Nikki Caughey and Ilse van Staden came off the bench for Ireland.
© Ian Humes Photography | The Front Row Union

Ireland battled back for Lyons to claim her third try of the tournament, after Ilse van Staden went close. From an Ulster perspective it was good to see van Staden slot in seamlessly for the impressive Lindsay Peat, the Cooke player’s powerful scrummaging to the fore, but by this stage Ireland were chasing a game that was shortly to slip beyond their grasp.

Appropriately it was Scarratt that delivered the killer blow as she finished off a break by Danielle Waterman with consummate ease, the England centre converting her own try with just over ten minutes remaining.

Replacement winger Thompson added some gloss to the final score with a blistering break from midfield to race in unopposed, Scarratt again converting to give a final score of Ireland Women 7 England Women 34.

Kim Flood 15 Danielle Waterman
Hannah Tyrrell 14 Amy Wilson Hardy
Jenny Murphy 13 Emily Scarratt
Sene Naoupu 12 Amber Reed
Alison Miller 11 Kay Wilson
Nora Stapleton 0 Emily Scott
Larissa Muldoon 9 La Toya Mason
Lindsay Peat 1 Rochelle Clark
Leah Lyons 2 Amy Cokayne
Ailis Egan 3 Justine Lucas
Sophie Spence 4 Tamara Taylor
Marie-Louise Reilly 5 Harriet Millar-Mills
Ciara Griffin 6 Alex Matthews
Claire Molloy 7 Marlie Packer
Paula Fitzpatrick 8 Sarah Hunter
Ciara O’Connor 16 Vicky Fleetwood
Ilse van Staden 17 Vickii Cornborough
Ruth O’Reilly 18 Laura Keates
Ciara Cooney 19 Poppy Cleall
Nichola Fryday 20 Izzy Noel-Smith
Mary Healy 21 Bianca Blackburn
Nikki Caughey 22 Rachael Burford
Mairead Coyne 23 Lydia Thompson

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