Reigning champions England scored five unanswered tries to triumph 27-0 in Doncaster and end Ireland’s winning start to the 2020 Women’s Six Nations on Sunday.
Captain Sarah Hunter scored a try in the third minute, and not long after Abby Dow broke through the Irish defence again to make it 12-0.
England’s set piece dominance led to another unconverted try for Jess Breach in the 27th minute.
Just before half time, England’s maul drove Vicky Fleetwood over the line to make it 22-0.
Unfortunately for Ireland, early in the first half a heavy tackle forced Lindsay Peat off. She’s now out for the remainder of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.
England led Ireland 22-0 at half time, Ireland struggling in the lineout and in the attack.
Ireland’s defence improved after half time, with Claire Keohane denying England another score with a vital interception. England pressurised Ireland in the scrum, and Dow’s quickly taken lineout allowed England to punch holes in the Irish defence before Katy Daley-Mclean’s pass to Sarah McKenna resulted in a fifth try for England in the 59th minute.
Ireland’s Vice Captain Sene Naoupu was stretchered off the pitch five minutes before full time for a head/knock.
Speaking after the match, Ireland captain Ciara Griffin said it was a very tough, physical game.
“England played some good rugby. It’s not the result that we wanted, but I must say it’s a big jump from last year for us as a group.
“We’re looking to build up in out processes, build up in our ‘D’, and you could see that today although they got the points. It’s a much better performance than last year for us.”
Ireland have two games left in the competition against Italy and France, and Griffin said the England game was a good build up for them.
“We’re going to be hungry, we’ve got things to work on, things to fix, but a lot of positives to pull from it,” she said. “Well done to England, they deserved the win today.”
Sarah McKenna (Saracens); Abby Dow (Wasps), Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning), Amber Reed (Bristol Bears), Jess Breach (Harlequins); Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning), Leanne Riley (Harlequins); Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins), Lark Davies (Loughborough Lightning), Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears), Poppy Cleall (Saracens), Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury), Sarah Beckett (Harlequins), Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning) (capt).
Amy Cokayne (Harlequins/RAF) for Davies, Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins) for Bern, Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury) for Riley (all 55 mins), Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps) for Beckett (63), Zoe Harrison (Saracens) for Daley-Mclean, Amelia Harper (Loughborough Lightning) for Fleetwood, Emily Scott (Harlequins) for McKenna, Detysha Harper (Loughborough Lightning) for Cornborough (all 65).
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster); Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo Ladies/IQ Rugby), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster), Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/Munster); Claire Keohane (Railway Union/Munster), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster), Judy Bobbett (Blackrock/Leinster), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt), Edel McMahon (Wasps/Connacht/IQ Rugby), Anna Caplice (Harlequins/IQ Rugby) (13).
Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht) for Peat (13 mins), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster) for McDermott (48), Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/Leinster) for Keohane, Leah Lyons (Harlequins/IQ Rugby) for Djougang (both 61), Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster) for Dane, Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Doyle (both 63), Victoria Dabanovich-O’Mahony (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Moloney, Dorothy Wall (Railway Union/Munster) for Caplice (both 66), Doyle for Naoupu (75).