England 39 Ireland 10
Ireland were unable to prevent a rampant English women’s team sweeping to a Six Nations grand slam on Saturday going down 39-10 at Old Albanians RFC.
England already had the title sewn up before the game kicked off, with Wales having shocked the tournament with their 11-10 victory over France the night before.
The historic win secured a second placed finish for Wales, who last year finished bottom of the table. In any case it would have taken a monumental effort from Ireland for France to have had any hopes of lifting the title, and try as they might, the girls in green succumbed to the side who will now be raging favourites heading into this summer’s World Cup.
England led 24-5 at the break with tries from Vanessa Huxford, Amy Garnett, Vicky Massarella and Helen Clayton early on in the game.
The home team had the aid of a huge breeze at their backs in that opening half, with Ireland’s only score coming from winger Nuala Ni Chaidhain. England’s extra points came from the boot of out-half Karen Andrews. Ireland were being put under huge pressure up front but out wide they did manage some strong attacks with centre Lynne Cantwell and wing Grace Davitt making plenty of yards.
Ten minutes into the second half, Ireland scored again, this time from number eight Joy Neville, following sustained pressure from a wave of Irish attacks deep in England’s territory.
Ireland suffered a double injury blow early in the half when they lost captain Sarahjane Belton and prop Marie Barrett and England were quick to capitalise when Clayton crossed for her second, Michaela Staniford crashed over and wing Danielle Waterman skipped the line for her try.
Irish coach Philip Doyle said: “We were happy with lots of aspects of our game. Our first try was right off the training paddock and we battled to the end. England are a fantastic team and I wish them well in the future, but for us this season has been about trying things out and getting some combinations going before the World Cup this summer and we’ll take a lot from games like this.”
Ireland: J O Sullivan, N Ni Chaidhan, L Cantwell, P Kelly, G Davitt, SJ Belton (c), T Rosser, F Coughlan , J Lonergan, M Barrett, C Mahon, G Healy, O Brennan, R Boyd J Neville:
Replacments: G McAllister (for Barrett 50),Y Nolan (for Lonergan 62), S Ryan (for G Healy 60), L Beamish (for T Rosser 75), A Greensmith (for SJ Belton 55) , S Fleming (for N Ni Chaidhain 62)
England: V Massarella, C Barras, M Staniford, K Oliver, D Waterman, K Andrew, J Yapp (c), V Huxford, A Garnett, V Gray, T Taylor, R Vickers, G Stevens, H Clayton, C Spencer
Referee: Hugh David (WRU)