England women win Six Nations grand slam after under-20s do the same

Gerard Meagher at Donnybrook
The England captain, Sarah Hunter, lifts the Six Nations trophy as she celebrates with her-team mates after defeating Ireland 34-7 at Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Two down, one to go. Emily Scarratt guided England women to a first Six Nations title since 2012 and with it the grand slam – immediately after the under-20s had also completed their clean sweep – meaning Eddie Jones’s side have another slice of history to aim for today. England women cut loose in the second half with tries from Laura Keates, Amy Cokayne, Scarratt and Lydia Thompson sealing a 34-7 victory over Ireland.

With the under-20s earlier grinding out a 14-10 win, the men’s side can complete a first ever treble grand slam in Dublin today. It has been a long time coming for England women, who won their seventh straight title five years ago but had failed to do so since. After concerted pressure early on Scarratt played the killer pass to Amy Wilson-Hardy for the first try. Ireland responded, forcing England into some desperate defending just before half-time, but the outstanding Marlie Packer led the resistance.

The replacement Keates plunged over from close range before Mairead Coyne was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on as Scarratt notched a penalty and converted Cokayne’s try. Leah Lyons pushed over for Ireland’s solitary try but Scarratt raced clear on the left and Thompson followed suit soon after to boost England’s hopes of returning to Ireland in August and successfully defending their World Cup title.

Earlier at Donnybrook England’s Under-20s wrapped up their first grand slam since 2011. Last year a callow squad managed only one win from their five matches but went on to claim the Junior World Cup and England have demonstrated their continued development this year, scoring 28 tries on the way to their clean sweep – though Ireland ensured a nervous finish.

Jack Nay opened the scoring, the Saracens second-row finishing off a rolling maul with his club-mate Max Malins slotting a fine conversion despite the strong wind, midway through the first half. England continued on the front foot and, while Bill Johnston struck a penalty for Ireland a minute before half-time, the visitors had their second try before the interval – the Gloucester hooker Henry Walker bursting through under the posts. Malins again converted.

During the second half, however, the 18-year-old Sale twins, Ben and Tom Curry, both went off injured and soon after the hour mark the Ireland replacement second-row Gavin Coombes powered over. Johnston’s conversion narrowed the deficit but England held on.

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