- England begin hunt for sixth successive 6 Nations title with win in Wales
- Gary Street - For most of the game we dominated and we have got to be pleased with that
England Women became the third English side to defeat Wales this weekend when they inflicted a 19-0 victory over their fierce rivals on Sunday.
Joining the senior men and England Under 20s, Gary Street’s side overcame the horrendous wind and rain soaked conditions to run in three tries at Cross Keys RFC.
England, who are targeting a sixth successive Six Nations title and another Grand Slam, dominated the game for long periods and also showed tremendous skill and patience in defence. Tries came courtesy of Richmond wing Fran Matthews and Worcester’s Danielle Waterman, which added to a penalty try, while new captain Katy McLean also added two conversions.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “For most of the game we dominated and we have got to be pleased with that. The conditions were very difficult today and that played its part. We haven’t played since September so I expected a bit of rustiness but we scored some nice tries and our defence was solid as ever. Our next test is against Italy on Saturday and not only will we be looking for a win, but we will be looking for an improved performance.”
It was Matthews who opened up England’s account in the first half with an 11th minute touchdown. England had all the possession in the opening stages but the rain-soaked pitch made for tricky playing conditions.
England, however, always opted to go for the points rather than the posts and their perseverance paid off with the Richmond winger touching down. From another England scrum England outwitted Wales by not powering forward to the line but popping the ball out to Margaret Alphonsi who then offloaded to Matthews on the wing. McLean, however, was unable to make the conversion with the gusty wind going against England.
The visitors were then made to wait for any more spoils with neither side able to capitalise on some well-crafted opportunities with the sodden ground and slippery ball making the going heavy.
Wales too were strong in defence but they were penalised one too many times come the end of the first half when referee Mark Patton punished the home side with an England penalty try. Catherine Spencer had been close to taking the points but following the referee’s intervention it was McLean who stroked over the penalty try, handing England a 12-0 lead at half time.
With the wind now behind them, England came out in impressive style, putting try number three on the board after just eight minutes.
England had worked hard to get the ball back after being turned over in Wales’ 22. Scrum half La Toya Mason then got the ball out to fly half McLean and then Kim Oliver, who drew in Wales’ defence. A quick offload to Waterman then saw the full back free to score on the right wing. With McLean adding the conversion England found themselves with a comfortable 19-0 lead.
Wales, did their best to change that with a late comeback which saw them within touching distance of the try line, but each time their efforts were thwarted by a wall of England shirts, allowing the visitors to hold their lead until the final whistle.