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Women’s Six Nations Round Three Review

Women’s Six Nations Round Three Review

Round Three of the Women’s Six Nations brought points galore as England stole a march on the rest of the field with an emphatic win in Wales.

The Red Roses beat Wales 51-12 at Cardiff Arms Park to open a three-point gap at the top of the table and remain the only team in the Championship to have won all three of their games so far.

Meanwhile Scotland slumped to a third successive defeat of this year’s Championship at the hands of France and Italy continued their unbeaten run with a home victory over Ireland.

Wales 12-51 England

England raced out of the blocks against Wales with two tries in the first five minutes thanks to Sarah Bern and Jess Breach.

Captain Abbie Scott added a third before Bern produced the try of the game and bonus point for England, side-stepping Wales full-back Elinor Snowsill and dotting down under the posts.

Jess Kavanagh got one back for Wales but not before winger Breach had ghosted through the defence to dot down her second try of the match.

The third quarter was intense but scoreless before Cath O’Donnell, Abi Dow and Sarah Beckett put the result beyond Wales.

Cerys Hale added five points for Wales late on as did Katy Daley-Mclean for England, who moved up to 15 points in the table.

England flanker Marlie Packer said: “It was a fantastic performance from the girls – we went out there, we had a game plan and we executed it,” said Packer. We’ve got such a great squad atmosphere.

“Obviously we’ll be disappointed that they got over our line twice but that is something to work on.”

Wales head coach Rowland Phillips said: “Since I have been involved this is our third game against England and on each of the other two occasions we have been overwhelmed – today we weren’t. 

“After we got over the first 25 minutes, we were in the game. There were still some soft moments where we gave them soft tries but that is not taking anything away from England. 

“We showed that if we match the fight then we can be competitive.”

France 41-10 Scotland

Gabrielle Vernier scored a brilliant hat-trick as France bounced back from their Round Two defeat to England to see off Scotland in Lille.

Vernier grabbed two in the first half with Pauline Bourdon and Doriane Constanty also touching down to make certain of the bonus point for last year’s Grand Slam winners while Rhona Lloyd went over for Scotland.

Vernier, Caroline Boujard and Ian Jason all added supplementary scores for France after the break and Emma Wassell pulled one back for the Scots.

France manager Annick Hayraud was pleased with the response from her team, but knows there is still work to be done.

She said: “We saw a team that was capable of bouncing back. That was important for us.

“Defensively sometimes we rushed up, sometimes we didn’t. We forgot to close off the inside pass and you have to bring the player down.

“At some points, we didn’t get people to ground. Everyone was on the back foot and it’s harder to defend.

“The aim is to finish the Championship well. We want to go and get two wins, and two wins will be difficult because we’re away from home. It’s up to us to prepare well over two weeks to face Ireland.

“You never know [if England might slip up]. It’s happened before, like it’s happened to France. What is certain is that we want to finish the Championship on a high.

“There were some interesting things but only in patches. Sometimes it was laboured. The idea is to keep working for the Ireland game.”

Meanwhile, Scotland head coach Shade Munro was proud of the effort put in by his side.

He said: “We knew how tough a task it was going to be against a top three team like France. We prepared well going into it. 

“We hadn’t won our first two games, so it was important that we got a really big effort from the team. They tried extremely hard throughout that game and never gave up. 

“When you are up against teams as good as France are, they certainly punish you in certain areas, but we challenged them in areas too. We can be proud of the effort that we put in.”

Italy 29-27 Ireland

Italy preserved their unbeaten start to the Championship with victory over Ireland in a thrilling encounter.

Flanker Giada Franco scored two tries, including what proved to be the decisive score, as both sides secured themselves attacking bonus points with four tries a piece.

Ireland winger Eimear Considine also dotted down for a double to keep her side in contention until the death but a narrow defeat was unavoidable.

It was an historic day for the Azzurre, as they claimed their first-ever win over Ireland in the Women’s Six Nations, and they will head to England with confidence in Round Four for the meeting between the two remaining unbeaten sides.

Ireland head coach Adam Griggs, by contrast, wants to see greater consistency from his side.

He said: “Bitterly disappointed. Our defence really let us down and it’s been something that we’ve been working on.

“You can score all the tries you like in a game of rugby, but if you don’t make your tackles and you don’t defend, and you don’t get up off the ground with urgency, a good side like Italy are going to punish you and that’s what they did to us.

“We’re still building and we’re a work in progress. That’s something that we have some inconsistencies with unfortunately.

“We’ll focus on one thing and get that right and then we forget about the other thing, so that’s a part of the building process obviously. We want to be more consistent with what we’re doing well and then keep those improvements coming.”