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Losing out last year drove us to 2019 glory, says Middleton

Losing out last year drove us to 2019 glory, says Middleton
  • England head coach Simon Middleton says finishing second in 2018 drove them to Grand Slam this year
  • They confirmed perfect Championship in 2019 with 80-0 over Scotland
  • “This competition means so much to us and it was soul-destroying losing it last year, and we wanted to put that right."

Head coach Simon Middleton believes his England side were inspired to a 2019 Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam by the ‘soul-destroying’ experience of last year’s Championship.

The Red Roses completed the perfect campaign with an 80-0 triumph over Scotland at Twickenham in Round Five.

But the England boss believes it was last year’s 18-17 defeat to France in Grenoble, a result that saw Les Bleues take the title, which spurred them to their relentless pursuit of the 2019 Championship crown.

“We talk about celebrating wins, whether they are small ones or big ones – and this one is massive for us,” he said.

“This competition means so much to us and it was soul-destroying losing it last year, and we wanted to put that right.

“We wanted to do it in the right way, play some good stuff, and show how we’re progressing as a side.”

England’s 2019 Championship saw them run in 278 points and score 45 tries – way ahead of their nearest rivals France.

The 41-26 win in Round Two at Castle Park in Doncaster against the 2018 Grand Slam winners underlined England’s credentials as they took back the trophy they won in 2017.

After seeing off previously-unbeaten Italy in Round Four, that left them to do the business against Scotland in the final round as they ran in 12 tries, including doubles for Jess Breach and Poppy Cleall, to confirm the Grand Slam.

Middleton believes it was their best performance of this year’s Championship.

“We talked about saving our best until last and we really wanted to play well against Scotland,” he said.

“We delivered and I could not be more proud of them – they were sensational.

“The conditions were horrendous and Scotland kept battling. They never gave up.

“We were just smart with how we played. Tactically and technically, we were brilliant. I cannot speak highly enough of them.”