- 76th minute Tuson try secures England win
- Tries also for Thompson & Hunter
Wales Women 16 England Women 20
A 76th minute try for winger Sally Tuson handed England Women a thrilling 20-16 Six Nations victory at Aberavon RFC today (Sunday).
After leading for most of the match England paid the price for a sluggish second half when replacement prop Megan York barged over the try line on 69 minutes leaving England 16-15 down.
England, however, responded by giving everything they had in the dying minutes and in the end some good play by the forwards from a line-out got the ball out-wide and through the backs to Tuson on the wing.
The win means England finish third in the Six Nations, with Ireland taking the Grand Slam and France finishing second.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “We are never happy about not winning the Six Nations but at the same time our plan this season was always to prioritise the Sevens squad as they build towards the Rugby World Cup in June. To be honest we’ll take third place as we have rested so many players. The important thing today was to win this match.
“The first half went well but we had a disappointing start to the second-half and we got bogged down. Fortunately, we played with real passion in the end to bring the game back and get the win. This young side have learned a lot from this campaign and that is going to stand us in really good stead as we head to New Zealand and America this summer. We’ll also be welcoming back our Sevens players into the mix then so I think we’ll be in a strong position.”
England centre Amber Reed set-up the visitors well, scoring a well-struck penalty just 30 seconds into the game to steady the nerves. England then kept the momentum going with some good work by the backline and then No. 8 Harriet Millar-Mills. England got the ball out-wide to prop Roz Crowley but Lydia Thompson who went close to scoring but couldn’t quite get over the line.
Minutes later England came close again with a well-worked line-out, catch and drive. This time Victoria Fleetwood went close and then Laura Keates but in the end it was captain Sarah Hunter who picked and went from the base of the scrum. Reed this time didn't make the conversion, hitting the post.
England hold out
Wales came back strongly though and took their chances well which included centre Rebecca De Filippo taking a quick ball when England were caught napping. She then offloaded to wing Charlie Murray who ran in to score Wales’ first try. Fly-half Elinor Snowsill couldn’t convert leaving the score at 8-5 to England.
England pushed further ahead thanks to a charge down from wing Thompson on fullback’s Hywel Dyddgu clearance kick which resulted in an easy score for England. Reed this time converted to give England a ten point cushion before Wales clawed back a penalty just before half-time, leaving the score at 15-8 to England.
After the restart England, who had dominated so much in the first half, appeared to lose their momentum and even fresh legs in the form of an experienced heads Rochelle Clark, Sophie Hemming, Tamara Taylor and Georgina Gulliver didn’t make an immediate impact.
Instead Wales were buoyed and took the initiative. They came close to scoring on a number of occasions and Wales fullback Hywel was held up. England’s defence held firm but in the end they paid the price when the ball went loose and fullback Lauren Cattell couldn’t gather. Wales took the penalty and a good line-out, and drive, saw replacement prop York muscle her way over to score. Snowsill missed the conversion but Wales took a 16-15 lead.
With just ten minutes remaining England battled hard to put their rivals under pressure and they dominated territory and possession. In the end their hard work paid off when a well taken line-out on the right wing saw the ball taken through England’s backs into the midfield and then out to Tuson, who was as fierce as ever, and battled her way over the try-line. Reed missed the conversion but it did not matter as it was enough to take the 20-16 victory.
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 La Toya Mason (Wasps) (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). Replacements: 16 Emma Croker (Richmond), 17 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 18 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 19 Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), 20 Rebecca Essex (Richmond), 21 Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield), 22 Kim Oliver (Bristol), 23 Emily Scott (Thurrock)
Tries: Hunter, Thompson, Tuson
Substitutions: Clark for Crowley, Hemming for Keates, Taylor for Braund, Gulliver for Mason (all 51 mins), Essex for Millar Mills, Oliver for Chamberlain (both 56), Croker for Fleetwood (66), Scott for Thompson (76)
15 Dyddgy Hywel (Caernarfon), 14 Caryl James (Cardiff Quins), 13 Elen Evans (Waterloo), 12 Rebecca de Filippo (Cardiff Quins), 11 Charlie Murray (Neath Athletic), 10 Elinor Snowsill (Bristol), 9 Amy Day (Unattached), 1 Jenny Davies (Waterloo), 2 Lowri Harries (Neath Athletic), 3 Catrin Edwards (Cardiff Quins), 4 Gemma Hallett (Pontyclun), 5 Shona Powell-Hughes (Neath Athletic), 6 Catrina Nicholas (Cardiff Quins), 7 Sioned Harries (Cardiff Quins), 8 Rachel Taylor (Bristol - Capt). Replacements: 16 Carys Phillips (Cardiff Met), 17 Megan York (Blaenau Gwent), 18 Bethan Howell (Seven Sisters), 19 Nia Davies (Cardiff Met), 20 Vicky Owens (Pontyclun), 21 Laura Prosser (Pontyclun), 22 Philippa Tuttiett (Cardiff Quins), 23 Leila Johns (Unattached)
Tries: Murray, York
Penalties: Snowsill (2),
Referee: Nicky Inwood
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees and Alan Jenkins
England’s Six Nations Fixtures & Results:
February 2, 2013 - England 76 Scotland 0 Esher RFC
February 9, 2013 - Ireland 25 England 0 Ashbourne RFC
February 23, 2013 – England 20 France 30 Twickenham Stadium
March 9, 2013 - England 34 Italy 0 Esher RFC
March 17, 2013 - Wales 16 England 20, Aberavon RFC