Red Roses sweep aside France in emphatic fashion in Doncaster
Gloucester-Hartpury Women's News
10 February 2019
England Women made it two from two in this season’s Six Nations in impressive style, as they ran in seven tries, including one from Gloucester-Hartpury’s Kelly Smith, on their way to a dominant 41-26 victory over France at Castle Park, Doncaster.
After the disappointment of defeat in last season’s key encounter in Grenoble, and with France having put 50 points on Wales last weekend, this was a big marker laid down by Simon Middleton’s side.
England made good use of the wind at their backs in the first half, with Emily Scarratt in particular pinning the French back with some lengthy kicks out of hand. 24-0 was the lead at half-time and the visitors were somewhat shell-shocked.
The try-scoring bonus point was secured before the interval, and the overall victory in the bag halfway through the second half, a French fightback having ben quashed. The only annoyance would have been allowing France to go over for a fourth try bang on full-time, thus clinching their own try-scoring bonus point.
England had already had a cracker of a try from Sarah McKenna ruled out when they took the lead through Jess Breach, the winger leaping highest to take a cross kick from Katy Daley-Mclean.
The Gloucester-Hartpury duo of Tatyana Heard and Kelly Smith were involved in the build-up to England’s second, Heard’s pass creating space and Smith coming close before Poppy Cleall scored from close range.
France had some good points and England were forced into some big defensive efforts. Vickii Cornborough was yellow carded and Heard had to pack down at flanker at a scrum a few metres out from the England line.
And the home team defied being down to 14 players as they scored twice despite being down on numbers. Smith showed her pace as she ran on to a kick through from Scarratt, before Breach scored her second with the last play of the half.
France came out fired up and scored quickly through Safi N’Diaye, but England’s response was significant as Smith and Heard both featured in the build-up before Cleall powered over for her second.
Pauline Bourdon then dummied her way through for a fine solo score, although she somehow missed the conversion from bang in front as France refused to go away.
However, power up front saw Hannah Botterman and Cath O’Donnell go over from close range to put the game to bed before late tries from Bourdon and Menager salvaged some pride for France despite the 41-26 scoreline.