- England Women score six tries and nil Italy at Esher
- Gary Street's side move up to second in Six Nations table
England Women 34-0 Italy Women
England Women returned to winning ways with a dominant performance against Italy in the Six Nations at Esher RFC, running in six tries.
Captain Sarah Hunter and lock Joanna McGilchrist both marked their 50th caps with tries. Impressive in attack, England took a 29-0 first-half lead – the other scores coming from Sally Tuson, prop Roz Crowley (twice) and the boot of Amber Reed.
England continued to have the majority of possession and territory in the second half but scrappy play and individual errors cost the home side a number of chances and Emily Scott claimed the only points.
Following defeats to Ireland and France last month an eighth successive title was already out of reach but England now move up to third in the Six Nations table with one game remaining against Wales next Sunday.
Photo: Getty Images
Head Coach Gary Street said: “It was not just the win today that was important but the response of the players who came back from two defeats. Everyone says you learn a lot from losing and we certainly did. In the first half everything that we worked on during the week came to fruition and that is a coaches’ dream. The second half was tougher but the players dug deep.
“We play Wales next week and plan to end the Championship in style. The girls will take a lot of confidence from this win and will get better.”
McGilchrist opened the scoring on seven minutes when a switch between Reed and Hannah Gallagher enabled England to break through the centre of the visiting defence. Large gained ground before releasing McGilchrist to dive over.
England’s second was an impressive individual try from Crowley who stormed through the 22 and over the line. Reed converted to take the score to 12-0 with 12 minutes played.
A strong drive following a line out on the five-metre line earned captain Hunter England’s third. England continued to bring waves of attack making breaks from around the field until Tuson finally crossed in the corner on 33 minutes having come close a number of times.
Photo: Getty Images
A well worked team try just before half time gave Crowley her second. The prop cut inside after the ball had moved out wide from the breakdown through the hands of Georgina Gulliver, Large and Hunter. Reed took the score to 29-0.
England pressed hard in the opening of the second half and Abigail Chamberlain came close but was tackled just short of the line. Individual errors caused the frustration to set in for the home side who couldn’t convert the opportunities into points.
Street made a number of changes, bringing on experience from the bench and the half time deadlock was finally broken on 69 minutes when a perfectly weighted cross field kick from Large was gathered by replacement Emily Scott to cross in the corner.
Italy forced their way into the game in the final quarter but England tackled hard in defence and the visitors never came close to scoring.
England Women v Italy
15. Lauren Cattell (Saracens)
14. Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
13. Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
12. Amber Reed (Bristol)
11. Sally Tuson (Bristol)
10. Ceri Large (Worcester)
9. Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield) (VC)
1. Roz Crowley (Lichfield)
2. Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3. Laura Keates (Worcester)
4. Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps)
5. Emily Braund (Lichfield)
6. Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield)
7. Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
8. Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
16. Emma Croker (Richmond) on for Fleetwood (51 minutes)
17. Kate Newton (Bristol) on for Crowley (56 minutes)
18. Sophie Hemming (Bristol) on for Keates (56 minutes)
19. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond) on for Braund (69 minutes)
20. Rebecca Essex (Richmond) on for Gallagher (69 minutes)
21. Fiona Davidson (Richmond) on for Gulliver (51 minutes)
22. La Toya Mason (Wasps) on for Large (72 minutes)
23. Emily Scott (Thurrock) on for Thompson (56 minutes)
Tries: McGilchrist (7 minutes), Crowley (11 minutes), Sarah Hunter (18minutes), Sally Tuson (33 minutes), Crowley (38 minutes), Large (68 minutes)
Conversions: Reed (12 minutes) Reed (39 minutes)