November 13 2016
England Women continued their fine start to the new season with a gritty 10-12 win over Ireland at University College Dublin
|England womens Rochelle Clark during the Old Mutual Wealth Series match at University College Dublin- Pictures Empics|
The Red Roses took the lead through the record-breaking Rochelle Clark but were pegged back by a Nora Stapleton penalty on the stroke of half-time.
The home side took the lead after the break through a well-taken Stapleton score, and her conversion sailed through the uprights to give Ireland a five-point advantage. However, the Red Roses refused to lie down and they levelled the score late on through an Izzy Noel-Smith try, and after Katy Mclean’s superb conversion from out wide they were ahead again.
Simon Middleton's side defiantly held on for the remainder of the match, and they have now won four of their last five meetings between the two sides, moving up to number two in the world rankings in the process ahead of Canada.
England will next face New Zealand on Saturday (kick-off 12 noon) at Twickenham Stoop in the second match of the Old Mutual Wealth Series before playing Canada on 26 November at Twickenham in a rematch of the 2014 World Cup final.
England showed great resilience in the first 30 minutes of the game, denying a fired-up Ireland side any opportunities to register points in front of a vocal home crowd. Centres Claire Allan and Rachael Burford made numerous tackles out wide as Ireland looked to provide width to their attacks.
14 minutes before half-time Ireland thought they had broken England’s determined defence but flanker Marlie Packer made a crucial tackle on Niamh Kavanagh as the Irish wing nearly broke through.
Clark made history in this match by becoming England’s most-capped player in the game, overtaking former prop Jason Leonard with 115 international appearances. She marked the occasion with a well-taken try six minutes before the break, the dynamic Vicky Fleetwood broke from the back of a maul but was hauled down five metres short of the line.
The Worcester Valkyries prop then collected the ball and showed her immense power to drag herself over the line.
If Clark features against New Zealand or Canada in the remainder of the Old Mutual Wealth Series she will become the most-capped women’s player of all-time, overtaking her coach at Worcester Donna Kennedy.
England scored their third try from a driving maul in the space of two games through Noel-Smith’s score eight minutes from time.
Noel-Smith was in fact a late replacement for Alex Matthews, who withdrew from the starting line up through concussion, and the Bristol flanker took her chance with a crucial try. With the scores level at 10-10, Mclean’s superb strike from out wide sailed through the middle of the posts to put the Red Roses two points ahead – an advantage they held onto. 10-12 Final Score.
Danielle Waterman, Kay Wilson, Claire Allan (Katy Mclean, 51), Rachael Burford (Ceri Large, 69) Fiona Pocock, Emily Scott, La Toya Mason (Natasha Hunt, 51); Rochelle Clark (Vickii Cornborough, 56) Vicky Fleetwood, Laura Keates (Justine Lucas, 56), Tamara Taylor, Harriet Millar-Mills (Poppy Cleall, 69), Izzy Noel-Smith, Marlie Packer (Amy Cokayne, 51), Sarah Hunter
Replacements not used: Sarah Bern
Tries: Clark (34), Noel-Smith (72)
Conversions: Mclean (73)
Mairead Coyne, Niamh Kavanagh, Nicole Fowley, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller, Nora Stapleton, Larissa Muldoon; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Ailis Egan, Marie Louise Reilly, Orla Fitzsimons, Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick
Replacements: Leah Lyons, Fiona Hayes, Fiona Reidy, Katie Norris, Chloe Pearse, Mary Healy, Nikki Caughey, Jackie Shiels
Try: Stapleton (50)
Conversion: Stapleton (51)
Penalty: Stapleton (40)