Ireland’s hopes of a Triple Crown ended in Doncaster with, defending champions, England posting a five try win.
The hosts bagged the try bonus in the first half with Sarah Hunter, Abby Dow, Jess Breach and Vicky Fleetwood all crossing.
Ireland battled hard in the second half but a further try from England’s Sarah McKenna, and a first half conversion from Emily Scarratt, gave England a 27-0 win.
England (22) 27
TRY: Sarah Hunter, Abby Dow, Jess Breach, Vicky Fleetwood, Sarah McKenna
CON: Emily Scarratt
Ireland (0) 0
Ireland had struggled to a win against Scotland and comfortably disposed of a Welsh side in disarray but the game against England was going to be the first real benchmarking of any improvement in what is going to be a crucial season with World Cup qualification their prime objective.
Compared to last season’s 8 try drubbing at Donnybrook you would have to say that Ireland are moving in the right direction, but that was starting from a low baseline.
However, early indications were of another big scoreline from the hosts as Sarah Hunter crashed over in the opening minutes for a try converted by Emily Scarratt to give England a 7 – 0 lead.
Ireland steadied the ship but the loss of the influential Lindsay Peat, on the 12th minute, was followed by a second try from England with Abby Dow finishing off an overlap out wide.
Ireland continued to work hard for possession but were unable to do much under pressure and England’s third try came around the half hour mark with Jess Breach shaking off some poor tacking our wide to dive over in the corner.
The bonus point try arrived just before the break with Vicky Fleetwood finishing off a lineout maul. Scarratt had an off day with the boot, in difficult conditions, and was unable to add to her early conversion leaving the score a 22 – 0 in England’s favour as the teams changed ends.
Ireland raised the tempo on the restart, which caused England a few problems, but Ireland continued to struggle to execute under pressure in a scrappy second half.
The only score came on the hour mark after a quick lineout from Dow ended with Sarah McKenna crossing with the Ireland defence in disarray.
The closing stages continued to be scrappy, though England finished well on top, Ireland looking like a team that hadn’t played enough competitive rugby this season.
ENGLAND: Sarah McKenna, Abby Dow, Emily Scarratt, Amber Reed, Jess Breach, Katy Daley-Mclean, Leanne Riley, Vickii Cornborough, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Poppy Cleall, Zoe Aldcroft, Sarah Beckett, Vicky Fleetwood, Sarah Hunter (C). Replacements: Amy Cokayne, Detysha Harper, Shaunagh Brown, Harriet Millar-Mills, Amelia Harper, Natasha Hunt, Zoe Harrison, Emily Scott.
IRELAND: Eimear Considine, Lauren Delany, Sene Naoupu, Katie Fitzhenry, Aoife Doyle, Claire Keohane, Kathryn Dane, Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Linda Djougang, Aoife McDermott, Judy Bobbett, Ciara Griffin (C), Edel McMahon, Anna Caplice. Replacements: Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony, Laura Feely, Leah Lyons, Ciara Cooney, Dorothy Wall, Nicole Cronin, Larissa Muldoon, Hannah Tyrrell.