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.
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.
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.
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|