Six Nations: England Women 33 Ireland Women 11
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Saracens Marlie Packer was among the try scorers as England Women ended their 2018 Six Nations campaign with a bonus-point win over Ireland at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena to finish second in the competition.
Despite dominating the early possession, it took until the 11th minute for England to take the lead as Hannah Waterman secured her place as England’s outright leading try scorer on 47, overtaking Sue Day, when she dotted down from Katy Daley-Mclean’s perfect grubber.
Packer went over off the back of a superb driving maul from 15 metres out, and it was an almost identical maul on the other side of the pitch that saw Amy Cokayne cross as England established a 19-6 half time lead.
Ellie Kildunne’s clever show and go got her fifth try of the tournament, before Amber Reed hit an excellent deep line of Daley-Mclean’s pass to stroll in.
Ireland went over for a consolation score in the 70th minute when Claire Molloy crossed from a maul, adding to two earlier penalties.
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With France beating Wales it means England relinquish the title they won last season and finish second by three points.
Head coach Simon Middleton said: “It was a battling performance; we had to fight for every ball as Ireland probably have one of the best back rows in the game.
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“We had to problem solve as they presented different pictures than they looked at previously so I’m really pleased with how we built our performance.
“ The crowds are growing all the time. We had a great crowd at the Stoop, the atmosphere was amazing last week in France and it was a great crowd tonight.”
England: 15. Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester-Hartpury, 8 caps); 14. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury, 2 caps); 13. Lagi Tuima (Bristol Ladies, 5 caps); 12. Rachael Burford (Harlequins Ladies, 79 caps); 11. Danielle Waterman (Wasps FC Ladies, 82 caps); 10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 99 caps); 9. Caity Mattinson (Bristol Ladies, 7 caps); 1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins Ladies, 39 caps); 2. Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies, 41 caps); 3. Sarah Bern (Gloucester Hartpury, 20 caps); 4. Abbie Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 29 caps); 5. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 22 caps); 6. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond F.C, 47 caps); 7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 59 caps); 8. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 105 caps). Replacements: 16. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 10 caps); 17. Rochelle Clark (Wasps FC Ladies, 137 caps); 18. Justine Lucas (Wasps FC Ladies, 33 caps); 19. Cath O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 4 caps); 20. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies, 2 caps); 21. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 21 caps); 22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 5 caps); 23. Amber Reed (Bristol Ladies, 49 caps).