PICTURE SPECIAL: England Women beat Ireland at sell-out Castle Park

England moved closer to successfully defending their Women’s Six Nations title when beating Ireland 27-0 in front of a sell-out 5,000 crowd at a blustery Castle Park.

By Steve Hossack
Monday, 24th February 2020, 3:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:42 am
England beat Ireland at a packed Castle Park in the Women's Six Nations on Sunday. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images
England beat Ireland at a packed Castle Park in the Women's Six Nations on Sunday. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Playing their first home game of the campaign after victories in France and Scotland, the Red Roses scored five tries without reply against an Irish side who also went into the game with a 100 per cent from two home games.

The result was never in doubt as clinical England raced into a commanding 22-0 interval lead despite limited territory and possession, but their second half performance fell short of expectations.

Ireland showed up well in defence but lacked a cutting edge in attack and England always looked to be with a chance of keeping a second successive clean sheet.

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Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

England took an early lead when No 8 Sarah Hunter showed good footwork at back of the scrum prior to touching down near enough for centre Emily Scarratt to convert.

Ireland produced a spirited response but were unable to trouble the England defence.

Play was held up following an injury to Irish prop Lindsay Peat who was eventually stretchered off.

England hit the ground running when play resumed with full-back Sarah McKenna rounding off some impressive build-up play when joining the line out wide and sending wing Abby Dow over from close range.

Zoe Harrison of England is tackled by Ciara Griffin and Dorothy Wall of Ireland. Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

After going close through their forwards, England moved the ball left from a five-metre scrum which ended with wing Jess Breach handing off her marker close to the line to claim her 22nd try international try in just 13 games.

England bagged a bonus point try on the stroke of half-time, flanker Vicky Fleetwood touching down from a rolling maul.

England had been expected to emphasise the gulf in class in the second half but that didn’t happen as mistakes crept into their game and Ireland stuck to their task.

It took them almost 20 minutes to breach the Irish line again, McKenna cutting back inside from a short ball by Katy Daley-McClean ten metres out.

Photo by George Wood/Getty Images
Fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere prior to the Women's Six Nations match between England and Ireland at Castle Park. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Jessica Breach of England scores her side's third try. Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Fans arrive at Castle Park. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images
Fans show their support during the Women's Six Nations match between England and Ireland at Castle Park. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images
Sarah Mckenna of England celebrates scoring a try. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images
Photo by George Wood/Getty Images