Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Impressive England, stylish Ireland and reality bites for Wales – talking points from Six Nations

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Nearly 15,000 people were in Gloucester to watch England beat Wales, a record for a women’s home international

Mathematically, Wales could still be in with a hoot, but a 58-5 defeat by England showed there’s still a class gap between the top two and the rest.

Three became two title contenders and unsurprisingly only England and France remain in contention for the women’s Six Nations.

We’ll have to wait until Round 5 to see if this gap also exists between England and France. The Red Roses have been the more impressive side so far and will be rightly considered favorites to clinch four consecutive titles even at Bayonne.

France celebrated a 28-8 win in Scotland that was both comfortable and unconvincing, before Ireland opened their scoring with a 29-8 win over Italy in Cork.

England’s maul power

The Red Roses have an all-court game that came to the fore in the second half of their win over Wales, but the bedrock of the win was their driving maw.

In front of a record crowd of 14,689, the largest ever at an England women’s home game, Gloucester fans will have loved watching try after try come down the driver’s lines.

It’s been a strength for the Cherry & Whites this season and England showed they could do exactly the same, with three of their first four tries coming from Mauls, two from hooker Lark Davies.

The only exception was a clever move from behind an alley, a move used again in the second half to bring down Sarah Bern.

Even on a day when England lost Flyers Abby Dow to a broken leg – the RFU said later on Sunday she was “well in hospital and will have surgery” – this team has shown that there are so many different options has to break the opposition.

Reality check for Wales

Back-to-back bonus point wins for Wales against Ireland and Scotland were the perfect result following the introduction of professional contracts.

Always unlikely to threaten England at home, they would still have hoped to keep the Red Roses under 50.

They fought well in the first half and England only clinched the bonus point early in the second half, but it was a reminder that while Wales are on the rise, they still have a long way to go to close the gap .

Scotland’s slow start

Scotland won the second half of their clash with France 5-0, but unfortunately that came after a lopsided 40-minute opening.

France’s kicking game allowed them to dominate territory and run en route to a comfortable win in four tries, with Jessy Tremouliere outstanding in the first half with three 50-22 wins – albeit one withdrawn for an earlier penalty became.

Prop Christine Belisle caught Scotland’s attention, her powerful carry put real dents in an otherwise rock-solid French defence, partly setting up Chloe Rollie’s second-half try.

The problem for Scotland was that the damage had been done long before that.

Ireland on the board

After a difficult start in the Women’s Six Nations, Ireland are reasonably in the squad thanks to a 29-8 win over Italy.

Against an Azzurre side forced into a late reshuffle because of a Covid outbreak, Ireland romped to a bonus point win ahead of a disheartening trip to England.

Ireland’s back line looked particularly menacing, but losing their contingent of sevens for the last two rounds due to a World Series clash is of real concern.

Players like Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, goalscorers Lucy Mulhall and Eve Higgins and superstar Beibhinn Parsons provide the firepower in Ireland’s defense and without them an already tall order in England becomes even more difficult.

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is more accessible than ever. To find out how to watch the Women’s Championship visit: women.sixnationsrugby.com/tv/

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