By RFU Press Office by Julia Hutton
February 5 2012
England Women ran in nine tries in their opening RBS 6 Six Nations clash of the championship against Scotland on Sunday night at Lasswade RFC, with Michaela Staniford and Katherine Merchant touching down for braces of tries.
|England Women open Six Nations campaign with a flyer against Scotland|
The defending champions, gunning for a record seventh title, braved freezing cold conditions to dominate their Scottish rivals despite England fielding a relatively young looking side.
Wasps wing Staniford was named Player of the Match as she touched down twice and also set-up Rowena Burnfield for her first-half score. Staniford, double try scorer Merchant and Burnfield were also joined on the score-sheet by Bristol’s Marlie Packer and Isabelle Noel-Smith and Lichfield duo Natasha Hunt and Emily Scarratt.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “This is a great result to start our Six Nations campaign off with. To be honest we didn’t execute the things we wanted to as well as we could so there is a lot of room for improvement and we will be looking to put that right for next Sunday against Italy.
“The conditions were tough tonight, but the players did well especially our youngsters who stood up and gave a really good account of themselves. Our players who came off the bench made a real impact and created opportunities so I will definitely have a selection headache ahead of next week’s game.”
Bristol’s flanker Packer helped settled England’s nerves early on with the first of England’s nine tries. Only four minutes had passed but in that period England had already piled the pressure on Scotland. Merchant and vice-captain Sarah Hunter had come close to scoring, but on a third attacking line-out just five metres out Scotland were penalised and England took a quick penalty and Packer took the ball on and scored. Skipper Katy McLean couldn’t make the conversion, a pattern that followed throughout the match in the blustery conditions, leaving the score at 5-0.
The missed conversion didn’t matter though with England soon taking a 10-0 lead. This time Rachael Burford, who had an impressive game at centre, burst through the midfield after the restart. Scarratt then took the ball on and chipped ahead, and as she was taken out, Staniford continued the chase to secure the ball and then touch down.
Try number two came Staniford’s way just before the half hour mark after Scarratt made a good break through a weak Scotland defence. Full-back Kay Wilson came close to scoring, but in the end it was Staniford who finished off another impressive move for the visitors.
With ten minutes remaining England ran in a further two tries. Packer made a fantastic break and Vicky Fleetwood was crucial in support before Staniford ran close to the try-line setting up lock Burnfield with a nice high pass to score. McLean converted. Merchant secured try number five, a score that started in England’s 22 with Scarratt providing the vital power and pace to offload to Merchant on the wing to make the score 27-0 at half-time.
The one way traffic continued after the restart with Merchant securing her second touchdown after just 49 minutes. Scrum-half Hunt then added to England’s tally with a 52nd minute score, when again Staniford came close, but couldn’t quite finish it off.
Flanker Harrier Millar-Mills, on just her second game for England, was at the heart of England’s eighth try, taking good ball from the back of the scrum to feed out to Burford. Burford executed a nice pass to Scarratt who then scored under the posts. Bristol’s Isabelle Noel-Smith then rounded off England’s evening with her first international try on 80 minutes to make the final score 47-0.
15 Kay Wilson (Bristol), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 12 Rachael Burford (Richmond), 11 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 10 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks) (C), 9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), 1 Claire Purdy(Wasps), 2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol), 4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 5 Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), 6 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), 7 MarliePacker (Bristol), 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) (VC). Replacements: 16 Amy Turner (Richmond), 17 Laura Keates (Worcester), 18 Emily Braund (Lichfield), 19 Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol), 20 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield), 21 Ceri Large (Worcester), 22 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
Tries: Packer, Staniford (2), Burnfield, Merchant (2), Hunt, Scarratt, Noel-Smith
Replacements: Noel Smith for Hunter, Large for McLean, Braund for Gallagher (all 61 mins), Turner for Fleetwood, Rozario for Hunt, Roberts for Wilson, Keates for Hemming (all 68)
15 Stephanie Johnston (RHC Cougars), 14 Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers), 13 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers) (VC), 12 Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), 11 Sarah Dixon (Stirling County), 10 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars), 9 Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars), 1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill), 2 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), 3 Tracy Balmer (Worcester) (captain), 4 Anna Swan (RHC Cougars), 5 Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead/Jordanhill), 6 Charlotte Veale (London Wasps), 7 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), 8 Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond). Replacements: 16 Lindsey Smith (Darlington Mowden Park), 17 Suzanne McKerlie-Hex (Murrayfield Wanderers), 18 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), 19 Kath Muir (RAF), 20 Tess Forsberg (Richmond), 21 Lisa Ritchie (Carlisle), 22 Caroline Collie (OA Saints).
Assistant Referees: Mhairi Hay & Alex Pratt
England’s Six Nations Fixtures:
February 5th 2012, Scotland v England, Lasswade, Edinburgh, KO 5pm
February 12th 2012, Italy v England, Parabiago, Nr Milan, KO 3pm
February 25th, 2012, England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium, KO 615pm
Live on the BBC Red Button and on www.bbc.co.uk/sport. Free entry to the stadium after the men’s Six Nations match.
March 11th, 2012, France v England, Stade Charlety, Paris, KO 145pm
Live on Sky Sports 2HD Red Button
March 17th 2012 England v Ireland, Esher RFC, KO 2pm.