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Red Roses have improved the women’s game – Middleton

Red Roses have improved the women’s game – Middleton

After England put on 239 points across four Autumn fixtures, head coach Simon Middleton believes the Red Roses did not just up their standards, but those of women’s rugby as a whole.

England ran out 89-0 winners against USA, the world’s sixth ranked team, in Worcester, scoring 15 unanswered tries to cap a four-week period in which they also beat New Zealand twice and Canada once.

Abby Dow stood out, making 220 metres and scoring a stunning try, while Lydia Thompson crossed twice on her 50th cap at her home ground.

Middleton said: “Abby Dow’s first try was pretty special wasn’t it. I really enjoyed Holly Aitchison’s one at the end too because she’s defended brilliantly all tournament. That was a really smart try that she scored.

“The discipline to keep up momentum and finish the job. It was quite the second half!

“We had high hopes for this series but I just said to the girls in the circle that we haven’t just improved our game, we’ve improved the women’s game.”

Zoe Aldcroft made the most carries of any player, 15, as she captained her country for the first time, also scoring to the delight of the 7,515 packed into Sixways Stadium.

Lark Davies and Sarah Bern were the other Red Roses to score twice after fellow forward Vickii Cornborough had opened the scoring inside two minutes.

Aitchison, Leanne Infante, Helena Rowland, Lagi Tuima and debutant Connie Powell were the other try scorers for England as the Eagles were unable to handle the hosts’ pace and power.

“We’ve shown what’s possible when you back the girls and you’re given the resources and you put them in the right environment,” Middleton added.

“They’re just fantastic players so full credit to them. It’s taken some time to build this so what we’ve got to do is make sure we continue to do so.

“We’re definitely heading in the right direction! It was hugely important that we finished on the right terms and we have so I’m really pleased with that.”

And after Aldcroft had politely said ‘yes, please’ after being asked if she would like to captain England again, she sent out a warning to the rest of the rugby world about her side’s potential.

She said: “We’re not going to stop until we’re perfect.

“We’re never going to get perfect in a game of rugby. We’re never going to stop working towards that.”