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Home > News > England Women achieve Grand Slam in record breaking style
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Your News England Women achieve Grand Slam in record breaking style

England Women put the heartache of losing the Rugby World Cup Final behind them tonight when they secured a record breaking sixth successive RBS 6 Nations title and a Grand Slam, defeating Ireland 31-0 at Ashbourne RFC.

Gary Street’s side, who came so close to winning the Rugby World Cup in September losing only 13-10 to New Zealand, bagged the title with another record breaking effort – conceding an unprecedented number of points all tournament with just eight points against them.

Tries from skipper Katy McLean, No. 8 Sarah Hunter, props Rochelle Clark and Sophie Hemming and flanker Margaret Alphonsi handed England the silverware on a fine and dry evening in Ashbourne.

England Head Coach, who has now guided England to four Six Nations titles, said: “Obviously I am absolutely delighted with this result, but most importantly the effort from the players. After the world cup there could have been a hangover but it is an absolute credit to the girls the way they have come back and put the work in on and off the field.

“We have challenged the players this season, we wanted them to get even better and move on from last term and they have done exactly that.

“Once again tonight not only did we score some good tries but we defended excellently. We have set another championship record in terms of points conceded and I think that is a tremendous achievement.”

Skipper Katy McLean led by example in this showdown finale by handing England a 5-0 lead after just eight minutes. After several phases of sustained pressure in Ireland’s 22, and several attempts to cross the try line, the Darlington Mowden Park fly-half found a space and broke off a tackle to run in and score from ten metres out. McLean, however, couldn’t add the conversion.

Lichfield No.8 Sarah Hunter handed England a 10-0 lead after 22 minutes with a typical push over try after England continued to dominate territory and possession. McLean, this time, added the conversion and despite Ireland losing Joy Neville to the sin-bin that was where the score stayed until after the break. Ireland also had their chance between the posts with a 33rd minute penalty but Niamh Briggs couldn’t convert.

Street rolled on the replacements after the break with Rowena Burnfield and England’s world cup captain Catherine Spencer getting their chance, but it was prop Clark who crossed the try line for the third time in two games. Handing the defending champions a 17-0 cushion Clark, just like Hunter before her, picked up and powered her way over the line to score England’s third try. With McLean adding the conversion England had established a very healthy 19-0 lead.

Some impressive handling by Katherine Merchant to keep the ball in play then gave replacement Danielle Waterman the chance to make space. With Hemming in support Waterman popped the ball up to the prop who then barged her way over for her first ever England try.

McLean couldn’t convert but it didn’t matter as England continued the rout with Alphonsi this time adding the fifth and decisive try. Spencer, however, did the hard yards for Alphonsi with a great pick up and drive from the back of the scrum. The powerhouse flanker then took the ball on to score in extra time. With McLean adding the conversion England wrapped up the 31-0 victory, a sixth successive title and the Grand Slam to boot.

England

15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Rachael Burford (Richmond), 12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), 11 Francesca Matthews (Richmond), 10 Katy McLean (C) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks),9 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Emma Croker (Richmond), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Rebecca Essex(Richmond),5 Joanna McGilchrist(Wasps), 6 Heather Fisher(Worcester), 7 Margaret Alphonsi (vc) (Saracens), 8 SarahHunter (Lichfield). Replacements: 16 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 17 ClairePurdy(Wasps), 18 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 19 Catherine Spencer (Bristol), 20 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield), 21 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks),22 Danielle Waterman (Worcester)

Tries: McLean, Hunter, Clark, Hemming, Alphonsi

Conversions: McLean (3)

Substitutions: Burnfield for McGilchrist (HT), Spencer for Hunter (45), Waterman for Burford (54), Garnett for Croker (54), Purdy for Hemming (54), Roberts for Merchant (61), Rozario for Mason (68).

Ireland

15 Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemian - Munster),14 Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemian - Munster), 13 Lynne Cantwell (Richmond - Exile), 12 Geraldine Rea (Highfield - Munster), 11 Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemian - Munster), 10 Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere - Leinster), 9 Larissa Muldoon (UWIC - Exile), 1 Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemian - Leinster), 2 Gillian Bourke (Bristol - Munster), 3 Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere - Leinster), 4 Heather O'Brien (Highfield - Munster), 5 Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere - Leinster), 6 Laura Guest (Highfield - Munster), 7 Claire Molloy (Bristol - Connacht), 8 Joy Neville (UL Bohemian - Munster). Replacements: 16 Stacey Kennedy (City of Derry - Ulster), 17 Lauren Day (Waterloo - Ulster), 18 Dee O'Brien (Blackrock - Leinster), 19 Carol Staunton (Galwegians - Connacht), 20 Amy Davis (Blackrock - Leinster), 21 Gillian Nolan (St Marys - Leinster), 22 Jackie Shiels (Richmond - Leinster).

Half time score: Ireland 0 England 12

Referee: Sarah Corrigan (ARU)

Assistant Referees: Ken Henley Philips (IRFU) & John Montayne (IRFU)

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