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Monday 18 December 2017

England fend off brave Irish to complete Grand Slam

Ireland Women 7 England Women 34

Ireland’s Jenny Murphy. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Ireland’s Jenny Murphy. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

The English Women completed the second-half of a Grand Slam double at a wet and windy Donnybrook last night.

There was something of an old school feel to a match hampered by driving wind and rain.

From the outset, the Irish scrum blew their guests backwards and the forwards drove around the side effectively.However, out-half Nora Stapleton twice undid this hard work with successive kicks out on the full.

This handed England the initiative and they began to find their feet for centre Emily Scarratt to put Amy Wilson-Hardy in at the right corner for 5-0 in the 17th minute.

The Irish scrum was causing havoc and Alison Miller lifted the crowd with a hammer hit on Harriet Millar-Mills.

Centre Jenny Murphy and Claire Molloy were flying into the hits.

They were growing in confidence to such an extent that Sophie Spence and Paula Fitzpatrick were both held up over the line.

Ireland were slow to use the wind to play to the corners for territory, despite the evidence from one smart ball from Stapleton.

When they got into position, they were short of ideas.

It was Ireland's turn to get bodies under a driving maul.

It was replacement Laura Keates who spotted a hole to the left of a ruck to double the lead in the 54th minute.

The game got away when Mairead Coyne stuck out a hand to see yellow for Scarratt to kick three.

Hooker Amy Cockayne steamed away for the third try before Ireland's hooker Lyons blasted over for Hannah Tyrrell's extras to make it 20-7 in the 67th minute.

Scarratt produced the best try of the game and replacement wing Lydia Thompson closed the show.

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