- England Women round off autumn with win against Canada
- Two tries for Sophie Hemming helps England to victory
England Women 32 Canada Women 3
England Women backed up Saturday’s 40-20 win against France with a convincing 32-3 victory against Canada at the Twickenham Stoop to round off their autumn series.
The visitors played their part but two tries from prop Sophie Hemming and one from Lydia Thompson gave England the platform for victory, while captain Katy Mclean’s boot added another 17 points.
The forwards, led by the relentless work rate of hooker Vicky Fleetwood and flanker Marlie Packer, pinned Canada back for long periods and Mclean's accurate boot made them pay.
England started brightly and were rewarded for the endeavour and intensity of the forward pack with two early penalties from fly half Mclean to make it 6-0 with 14 minutes played.
Canada hit back from England’s restart as fly half Jackie Tittley halved the deficit with a well struck penalty to make it 6-3.
But England had the first try of the game with 20 on the clock after taking a chance to seize the initiative when Mclean sent a kickable penalty to the corner. The well taken line-out inside the Canada 22 was gathered by lock Rowena Burnfield before prop Hemming rumbled over for her third international try to make it 11-3.
Excellent vision from Mclean set up England’s second try as the Darlington Mowden Park Sharks No. 10 sent a precise cross-field kick over the Canadian back line for wing Thompson to gather and dot down in the corner.
Mclean’s fine touchline conversion gave England a 15-point cushion at 18-3 and she added another penalty just before the break to make it 21-3 at half time.
England flew out of blocks in the second 40 and great work from the forwards pushed the Canada pack backwards which allowed Hemming space to touch down in an almost carbon-copy of her first try.
Both sides were reduced to 14 as the half wore on, first Canada’s Karen Paquin was sent to the sin-bin and then England’s Burnfield who was given her ten-minute marching orders.
A fifth penalty from Mclean made it 32-3 with 15 minutes to play and despite late pressure from the visitors, England held out for their first win against Canada in three attempts, having been beaten by their opponents twice in last summer’s Nations Cup.
The two sides will meet again at the 2014 Rugby World Cup in France, a fact that is not lost on Head Coach Gary Street.
He said: “We’ve still got some good players to come back so to go out there and perform like that is really pleasing. We’ve got a tough group out in France for the World Cup but our focus before that is the Six Nations – we’re just delighted to get back to winning ways.”
“We’re still making errors, but we made 11 changes from Saturday and that goes to show the strength in depth that we’ve got. Our aim for the autumn was to show everyone that we’re back in business after a difficult twelve months, so to score 72 points in our two games is fantastic – a nice early birthday present for me, with my birthday tomorrow!”
15 Amber Reed (Bristol)
14 Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
13 Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond)
12 Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
10 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) C
9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
1 Claire Purdy (Wasps)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
7 Marlie Packer (Wasps)
8 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield)
16 Emma Croker (Richmond)on for Victoria Fleetwood 60 mins
17 Rochelle Clark (Worcester) on for Claire Purdy 60 mins
18 Sasha Acheson (Bristol) on for Sophie Hemming 53 mins
19 Rebecca Essex (Richmond) on for Harriet Millar-Mills 57 mins
20 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens) on for Marlie Packer 33 mins
21 La Toya Mason (Wasps) on for Natasha Hunt 59 mins
22 Ceri Large (Worcester) on for Abigail Chamberlain 53 mins
23 Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) on for Lydia Thompson 66 mins