February 27th, 2009
England 29 Ireland 13
England women bounced back to winning form this evening (Friday) with a dominant second-half display that sealed a 29-13 RBS 6 Nations victory against Ireland in Dublin.
England, who suffered their first defeat since 2006 two weeks ago against Wales, trailed 5-13 at half-time, but steely determination and commitment won through for England.
A brace of tries from Richmond's Fran Matthews and touchdowns for skipper Catherine Spencer and Fiona Pocock proved crucial in the second-half. Lichfield's Emily Scarratt also registered a try in the first 40 minutes.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: "Ireland gave us a really hard game tonight. We knew they'd be strong and they certainly showed that in the first-half. However, we showed enormous self-belief tonight and real intensity to come back in the second-half and dominate.
"Our ambition to retain our six nations crown is still alive. Our hat is still in the ring. Wales have still got some tough games to come, including France on Saturday so we have still got a fighting chance."
England went behind early on with full-back Niamh Briggs converting a sixth minute penalty, before winger Amy Davis handed Ireland an early 10-0 lead with a try. England were turned-over in the scrum, and No. 8 Joy Neville picked up and broke through on the short-side before off-loading to Davis.
England weren't downhearted though and despite losing hooker Amy Garnett to the sin-bin bounced back with a good try by Emily Scarratt after a well-worked England scrum. Vice-captain Katy McLean missed the conversion to hand Ireland a 13-5 lead at the break.
England came out after the restart determined to keep their six nations dreams alive, and their determination shone through early on.
After just 48 minutes the visitors had the run of play, and after a fantastic pass by Richmond's Alice Richardson, who heads to Dubai next week for the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens, Mathews was set loose to charge through. McLean this time converted to put England just one point adrift.
With Garnett back on the pitch England's pack was at full strength again. A good solid scrummage by England saw Ireland's scrum overturned. Some quick ball from scrum-half Amy Turner then saw Matthews take her chance again and dart over the line for her second try, handing England a 17-13 lead.
The tourists then established a comfortable 22-13 lead when some good support play by the backs and forwards saw Matthews execute a good pass to Spencer who powered her way over the line. McLean again converted.
Centre Pocock then had the final say with a 70 minute try after another good pass from Richardson.
1 Rochelle Clark (Blaydon Team Northumbria), 2 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Rebecca Essex (Richmond), 5 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 6 Karen Jones (Richmond), 7 Gemma Sharples (Worcester), 8 Catherine Spencer (C) (Bristol), 9 Georgina Rozario (Plymouth Albion), 10 Katy McLean (VC) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 11 Fiona Pocock (Richmond), 12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 14 Francesca Matthews (Richmond), 15 Victoria Massarella (Saracens). Replacements: 16 Ollie Poore (Lichfield), 17 Claire Purdy (Wasps), 18 Natalie Binstead (Wasps), 19 Lois Moulding (Lichfield), 20 Amy Turner (Richmond), 21 Alice Richardson (Richmond), 22 Vicki Jackson (Lichfield)
Tries: Scarratt, Matthews (2), Spencer, Pocock
Conversions: McLean (2)
Substitutions: Turner for Rozario, Richardson for Oliver (HT), Poore for Jones (41), Garnett for Poore (50), Jackson for Massarella, Purdy for Hemming, Moulding for Sharples (all 64).
1 Fiona Coghlan (Bohemians), 2 Yvonne Nolan (Blackrock), 3 Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians), 4 Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians), 5 Orla Brennan (Blackrock), 6 Louise Austin (Blackrock), 7 Sinead Ryan (Navan), 8 Joy Neville (UL Bohemians), 9 Tania Rosser (Blackrock), 10 Joanne O'Sullivan (Richmond), 11 Amy Davis (Blackrock), 12 Helen Brosnan (Highfield), 13 Lynne Cantwell (UL Bohemians), 14 Grace Davitt (Blackrock), 15 Niamh Briggs (Clonmel). Replacements: 16 Jess Limbert (Lichfield), 17 Emer McManamly (Blackrock), 18 Kate O'Loughlin (Clonmel), 19 Debbie Clarke (Blackrock), 20 Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians), 21 Shannon Houston (Blackrock), 22 Jeannette Feighery (UL Bohemians).
Penalties: Briggs (2)
Half-time score: England 5 Ireland 13
Referee: Wayne Davis
Assistant referees: Brian Montayne & Robbie O'Flynn
England Women RBS 6 Nations Fixtures:
Feb 7th England v Italy 13.30 London Welsh RFC
Feb 14th Wales v England 13.00 Taffs Wells RFC, Cardiff
Feb 27th Ireland v England 18.30 St. Mary's RFC, Dublin
March 15th England v France 13.30 London Welsh RFC
March 21st England v Scotland 13.30 London Welsh RFC