England did all they could in an attempt to retain their Six Nations title as they saw off Ireland at the Ricoh Arena on Friday evening.
The Red Roses scored five tries as they ran out 33-11 winners over Ireland in the final round of this years’ Six Nations.
England had it all to do following last weekend’s defeat in Grenoble to France, but a 38-3 French victory against Wales meant the trophy was heading back across the English Channel.
England got off to a fantastic start as Danielle Waterman became the Red Roses leading try-scorer after dotting down in the corner following a kick in behind from Katy Mclean.
Ireland were quick to narrow the deficit as Hannah Tyrell kicked a penalty following an infringement from England at the breakdown.
The Red Roses weren’t going to finish this tournament with a whimper and scored two driving maul tries in quick succession with Marlie Packer and Amy Cokayne the beneficiaries of England’s powerful pack. Mclean converted both tries.
Ireland got the final say of the first after England were penalised for holding on, this time Niamh Briggs kicked the penalty to make the score 19-6 to England at half-time.
The moment you become the Red Roses’ top try-scorer!@nolli15 👏👏👏
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 16, 2018
England’s dominance continued into the second-half but it took until the hour-mark for the Red Roses to secure the bonus point. Gloucester-Hartpury’s Ellie Kildunne forced her way over from close in to take her tally for the campaign up to five. Mclean superbly added the extras from the touchline.
A scintillating run from Kildunne, which saw her leave three Irish defenders in her path, allowed England to quickly ship the ball out wide with substitute Amber Reed going over to extend England’s lead.
Ireland’s spirits weren’t dampened as Bristol’s Claire Molloy benefited from Ireland’s own driving line-out to get the Irish their first try of the game and the last score of the game.
England will be disappointed to have not retained the Six Nations but a one-point loss to France has proven costly.
Player of the Match: Ellie Kildunne