Women’s Six Nations: Red Roses defeat France to win Grand Slam in front of record crowd
The Red Roses claimed the Six Nations Grand Slam after holding off a late surge from France 38-33 in front of a record crowd at Twickenham.
England started the game well, shooting out to a 33-0 lead at the break before their opponents found their rhythm and made a charge in the second period.
It was not to be for the visitors, who despite scoring an impressive 33 points in the second period, fell short to England in head coach Simon Middleton’s final game at the helm.
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France were the last side to beat England in the Six Nations five years ago, and they started the game like they finished it, although without the rewards.
It took resolute defending, including an important penalty won on the ground by Hannah Botterman, to deny them early on, but the pressure was halted when England pounced against the run of play.
Footwork and power swept Helena Rowland through the midfield before quick ball gave Abby Dow sight of the line, with the right wing’s pace doing the rest.
Rowland’s centre partner Tatyana Heard was the next to swat away blue shirts, and when she was eventually halted, Marlie Packer used her strength to crash over.
France’s defence was creaking, and fly-half Jessy Tremouliere was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, ushering in a damaging spell that saw Alex Matthews cross and a penalty try awarded against Rose Bernadou.
Bernadou followed Tremouliere into the sin-bin, and England continued to canter seemingly out of sight as Zoe Aldcroft touched down.
However, having regrouped at half-time, France full-back Emilie Boulard went over in the 48th minute through slick attacking play, and when Gabrielle Vernier produced a smart dummy and sidestep before speeding over, the Red Roses’ nerves began to fray.
They settled when Lark Davies dived over once England’s pack had reasserted itself, but the visitors continued to fight with tries by Charlotte Escudero, Emeline Gros and Cyrielle Banet, falling narrowly short of the target needed.
Wales seal third after beating Italy
Wales finished their Six Nations campaign off with a win to secure third place, scoring five tries to beat Italy 36-10.
It is the first time since 2009 that Wales have won three games in a Six Nations tournament.
Scrum-half Keira Bevan put the first points on the board for the visitors with a penalty kick, but the opening try of the game came in the 23rd minute following a great bit of pressure on the Italian try line with Bethan Lewis able to find the gap to cross.
Italy immediately responded minutes later stemming from a brilliant move that saw Giada Franco burst down the left wing, offload to Aura Muzzo and, despite Hannah Jones’ last-ditch tackle, Veronica Madia managed to ground.
The hosts continued to pressure, moving the ball well across the pitch and they levelled through Michela Sillari’s penalty, but Sisilia Tuipulotu restored Wales’ lead going into the break after powering between the posts to cross.
Wales extended their advantage 10 minutes after the break from the lineout as Sioned Harries was able to ground from the driving maul before an excellent move was finished by Alex Callender for their fourth of the afternoon.
Kerin Lake then picked up a neat grubber kick to cross in the 70th minute and wrap up a third-placed finish for the visitors.
Scotland thrash Ireland as visitors end Six Nations winless
Scotland eased past Ireland 36-10 in the Women’s Six Nations.
Tries from Meryl Smith, Rachel Malcolm, Lana Skeldon, Francesca McGhie, Leah Bartlett and Chloe Rollie earned them a comfortable win on Saturday.
Defeat at Murrayfield, the final game of the tournament, means Ireland finish bottom with Scotland fourth.
Dannah O’Brien’s penalty gave Ireland an early lead but Smith’s try put Scotland 5-3 ahead at the break.
Seven minutes into the second half, hooker Skeldon went over after a rolling maul before Nichola Fryday’s try made it 10-8 and O’Brien’s conversion levelled the score.
But Bartlett’s converted try quickly put Scotland 17-10 ahead and McGhie’s try made it 22-10, with Helen Nelson converting.
Captain Malcolm extended the lead with six minutes left – Nelson again converting – to settle the game before Rollie went over in the closing stages.
READ MORE: Simon Middleton: The numbers behind his incredible tenure as England head coach
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