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Ruthless England rampage past disjointed Ireland

Ireland fell to their heaviest loss to England since 2002 as they conceded 14 tries in a Guinness Women’s Six Nations mismatch at Twickenham.

The final margin of 78 points was one better than a 79-0 defeat 22 years ago.

This game was never going to be a benchmark of where Ireland are at as new head coach Scott Bemand builds his side but there were still way too many basic errors and the hosts didn’t have to work hard for any of their tries, six of which came in the first half.

Ellie Kildunne and Amy Dow grabbed hat-tricks as England, five in a row champions, scored at will.

A Dannah O’Brien penalty and a second-half penalty try was all Ireland had to show for their effort.

Attention will now turn to Belfast next Saturday when Ireland bid to round off their campaign with a second win, Scotland the visitors in round five.

Boosted by a first championship win last weekend against Wales, Ireland had hoped to make life difficult for the Red Roses, who are ranked number one in the world and unbeaten since 2018 in the Six Nations.

However, the gulf in class between the side quickly became obvious in London.

Ireland were completely disjointed in defence and they kicked poorly, too often picking out the lethal Kildunne (below), the full-back picked up the player of the match award.

They failed to resource the ruck and against a side like England, that was always going to be fatal.

The set-piece was off with Ireland conceding a number of penalties at the scrum, before earning a couple themselves late on.

But the lineout never fired and England were able to turn defence into attack easily as Ireland missed 61 tackles.

Zoe Alcroft scored England’s fourth try

Tries from Dow, Mo Hunt, Megan Jones and Zoe Alcroft had the bonus point wrapped up by the 18th minute.

Down 26-0 in the 23rd minute, O’Brien got Ireland’s first points in four meetings against England when she tapped over a penalty after the hosts went offside.

With England dominating possession more tries were always on the cards and Kildunne got her first 11 minutes before the break.

Wing Dow got her second moments after being denied in the corner and Ireland went in 38-3 behind at the break.

Jess Breach scored two tries

Jess Breach and Sadia Kabeya added two more within 10 minutes of the restart with the Irish defence in tatters.

The one bright spot across the afternoon came in the 56th minute when Brittany Hogan took Clíodhna Moloney’s throw inside the English 22.

The replacement hooker directed the maul towards the line and Lucy Packer was adjudged to have taken it down with referee Aurélie Groizeleau awarding a penalty try and sending the scrum-half off.

It wouldn’t get any better for the hosts as the 14 women broke away for tries from Jones and Dow.

John Mitchell’s side, who travel to France next week looking to wrap up another Grand Slam, added further tries from Kildunne (2), Breach and Maddie Feaunati, while Aitchison landed nine of her conversion attempts.

A day to forget for Ireland.


England: Ellie Kildunne; Abby Dow, Megan Jones, Tatyana Heard, Jess Breach; Holly Aitchison, Natasha Hunt; Hannah Botterman, Lark Atkin-Davies, Maud Muir; Zoe Aldcroft, Morwenna Talling; Sadia Kabeya, Marlie Packer (capt), Alex Matthews.

Replacements: Connie Powell, Mackenzie Carson, Kelsey Clifford, Lizzie Hanlon, Maddie Feaunati, Lucy Packer, Emily Scarratt, Sydney Gregson.

Ireland: Lauren Delany; Katie Corrigan, Eve Higgins, Aoife Dalton, Béibhinn Parsons; Dannah O’Brien, Aoibheann Reilly; Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Christy Haney; Dorothy Wall, Hannah O’Connor; Aoife Wafer, Edel McMahon (capt), Brittany Hogan.

Replacements: Clíodhna Moloney, Niamh O’Dowd, Sadhbh McGrath, Fiona Tuite, Shannon Ikahihifo, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Enya Breen, Méabh Deely.

Referee: Aurélie Groizeleau (FFR).


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