Red Roses defeat Scotland in Six Nations opener in Doncaster

England Women got their bid for a third straight Six Nations title off to a great start with a convincing 52-10 win over Scotland in Doncaster.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 9:16 pm
Poppy Cleall looks for support during England's victory over Scotland at Castle Park. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The victory was the 11th in a row for Simon Middleton's side, who are aiming to secure a fourth Six Nations crown in five years.

England have enjoyed their visits to Doncaster Knights’ Castle Park in recent times, with their triumph over Scotland their fourth straight win on Yorkshire soil.

Scotland were not as passive as the scoreline suggests, however, and they were much improved in the second half but the game was won after a clinical first 40 minutes from the hosts.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Marlie Packer opened the scoring after eight minutes as she finished for England after some smart passing.

Scotland spent plenty of time in the hosts' half but couldn't make it count while at the other end, England had the bonus point wrapped up before the half-time whistle.

Leanne Riley extended the lead with a second Red Roses' try as she picked the ball from base of the ruck and powered over.

Scotland's only points of the first 40 minutes came when fly-half Helen Nelson kicked a penalty goal.

England responded well to conceding as Lark Davies planted down from the back of a driving maul.

With four minutes of the half remaining, Bryony Cleall reached out to score the bonus-point try after taking an inside ball from her twin sister Poppy.

The visitors' Lisa Thomson was yellow carded as Scotland finished the half with 14 players.

On the last play of the half, Jess Breach showed the Scotland defence a clean pair of heels as she pouched a cross-field kick and glided 40 metres to dot down.

It took only four minutes of the second half for a sixth England try to arrive as Breach burst down the wing before finding Helena Rowland who nipped through a gap to race away for her first international try.

Leeds Beckett graduate Emily Scarratt converted five of the first six tries.

Scotland upped the ante which resulted in Poppy Cleall being shown a yellow card. The visitors got the try their efforts deserved soon after as Hannah Smith bought some space with a dummy and plunged over the line.

England then played a few minutes with 13 women when Davies was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle with Cleall still waiting to return to the field.

Scotland were reduced to 14 players permanently as Molly Wright was dismissed for a high tackle just after the hour.

The red card knocked the visitors' confidence and England made the extra woman count as Poppy Cleall forced her way over for a seventh try with 10 minutes remaining.

England continued to put the pressure on and were awarded a penalty try - which saw Louise McMillan sin-binned - with three minutes to play to round off an emphatic win.