- England Women score six tries to defeat France at Twickenham
- Maggie Alphonsi scores in first appearance for 20 months
England Women 40 France Women 20
England Women kicked off their autumn campaign in perfect fashion with a 40-20 win against France at Twickenham Stadium.
Tries from skipper Katy Mclean, Maggie Alphonsi, Claire Allan, Ruth Laybourn and two from Kay Wilson set Gary Street’s side on the way to victory while Mclean added eight points with the boot and Amber Reed contributed two.
The six-try victory will have gone a long way to eradicate memories of France’s 30-20 win against England at Twickenham during the 2013 Six Nations campaign.
England started brightly and almost took a second minute lead, but wing Laybourn’s foot was adjudged to be in touch before she dotted down. The breakthrough eventually came with 15 on the clock when full back Wilson was on the end of a good passing move to touch down for her fifth international try.
Photo: Getty Images
Mclean’s excellent conversion from out wide made it 7-0 but France hit back with 18 played through the boot of Sandrine Agricole, kicking a penalty to make it 7-3.
Captain Mclean added to her points tally after 22 minutes, spotting a gap in the French defence and racing through to touch down, and the Darlington Mowden Park Sharks No. 10 secured the conversion to make it 14-3 and put England in control.
Maggie Alphonsi – making her first appearance in white for 20 months – scored England’s third in typical ‘machine’ like fashion, crashing through several would-be tacklers before diving over. Mclean added the two points to make it 21-3 after 27 mins.
Photo: Getty Images
Gary Street’s side kept their foot on the pedal though and soon had their fourth try with 35 played – wing Claire Allan was on hand to finish off a well worked move. Agricole then brought the half to a close with her second penalty to make it 26-6.
England started the second half as they did the first, and with 44 played Kay Wilson scored her second try, picking up a quick pass from Alphonsi before touching down near the posts. Mclean’s slotted the conversion to make it 33-6 but France hit back just minutes later when centre Marion Lievre intercepted a loose pass and touched down. Agricole added the conversion to make it 33-13 with 47 on the clock.
Laybourn scored England’s sixth after 75 minutes, showing real pace to out-run the French defence and Reed added the conversion to make it 40-13, but that wasn’t the end of the scoring as France had the final word when Lievre went over for her second try, which was converted by Agricole.
Player of the match Rachael Burford said: “Twickenham is a special place for us, it’s our home ground and it’s great to give back to our fans. To score 40 points against France is a real credit to our girls. The fact that they beat us in the Six Nations was mentioned, but the focus is on the future. We’re building towards the World Cup, but our main focus is on Canada on Wednesday.”
15 Kay Wilson (Bristol)
14 Claire Allan (Richmond)
13 Amber Reed (Bristol)
12 Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
11 Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (C)
9 La Toya Mason (Wasps)
1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester) (VC)
2 Emma Croker (Richmond)
3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
5 Emily Braund (Lichfield)
6 Marlie Packer (Wasps)
7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)
8 Rebecca Essex (Richmond)
16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield) on for Emma Croker 65 mins
17 Claire Purdy (Wasps) on for Rochelle Clark 74 mins
18 Sasha Acheson (Bristol) on for Sophie Hemming 69 mins
19 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens) on for Marlie Packer 60 mins
20 Harrier Millar-Mills (Lichfield) on for Tamara Taylor 65 mins
21 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield) on for La Toya Mason 60 mins
22 Ceri Large(Worcester) on for Katy Mclean 67 mins
23 Michaela Staniford (Wasps) on for Kay Wilson 59 mins
Tries: Kay Wilson 2, Katie Mclean, Maggie Alphonsi, Claire Allan, Ruth Laybourn
Conversions: Katy Mclean 4, Amber Reed