Match Centre: Six Nations Women: England 88-10 Ireland

Abby Dow scored a hat-trick for England

Abby Dow scored a hat-trick for England

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England 88-10 Ireland, Twickenham Stadium

Abby Dow and Ellie Kilnauw scored hat-tricks as England kept their Grand Slam hopes alive when they defeated Ireland 88-10 in the fourth round of the Women’s Six Nations at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

This is England’s fourth win in as many games as they now have 20 points, consolidating their place at the top, while Ireland sit in fifth place after losing their third game.

This was also England’s biggest win over Ireland, surpassing the 79–0 victory of 2002. They will face France in the final match next Saturday.

The Red Rose went ahead when Dow landed in the sixth minute after quick hands from Lark Atkin-Davies. Holly Aitchison missed the conversion but quickly made amends as Natasha Hunt spotted the gap in the Irish defense and crossed the line as England raced into a 12-0 lead.

England remained ruthless in their attack as Megan Jones found space at the back of a driving maul to cross and Zoe Aldcroft followed suit in the 19th minute to claim the bonus point as the home side raced to a 26-0 to Dannah. O’Brien opened Ireland’s account with a penalty in the 23rd minute.

There was no respite for Ireland as Ellie Kilnauw scored her seventh try of the competition after a scrum penalty and shortly afterwards Dow was stopped short of the line. Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time before she claimed her second try when Tatyana Heard, Jones and Kilnauw combined to send her over the line on the stroke of half-time, with England holding a dominant 38-3 lead.

England continued to attack in the second half with tries from Jess Breach and Sadia Kabeya taking their tally to 50 points, before Lucy Packer was sent off in the 55th minute for collapsing an Irish maul, which also resulted in a penalty for the visitors who made it. 50-10.

Despite trailing, England refused to slow down as Jones pierced the Irish defense for her second try and in the 63rd minute Kilnauw sent an inside pass to Dow to complete her hat-trick, making it 64–10. With twelve minutes to play, Kilnauw sprinted from the halfway line to the spot. With Ireland barely reacting, Breach, Kilnauw and Maddie Feaunati scored tries in the final 10 minutes as John Mitchell’s side completed a 78-point win.

Team formation:

England: Kilthin; Dow, Jones, heard, infringement; Aitchison, yacht; Botterman, Atkin-Davies, Muir, Talling, Aldcroft, Kabeya, Packer (captain), Matthews.

Reservations: Powell, Carson, Clifford, Hanlon, Feaunati, L Packer, Scarratt, Gregson.

Ireland: Delay; Corrigan, Higgins, Dalton, Parsons; O’Brien, Reilly; Djougang, Jones, Haney; Wall, O’Connor, Wafer, McMahon, Hogan.

Reservations: Moloney, O’Dowd, McGrath, Tuite, Ikahihifo, Scuffil-McCabe, Breen, Deely.