Old Albanians RFC
Ireland were unable to prevent a rampant English women s team sweeping to a Six Nations grand slam on Saturday going down 39-10 at Old Albanians RFC.
England already had the title sewn up before the game kicked off, with Wales having shocked the tournament with their 11-10 victory over France the night before. The historic win secured a second placed finish for Wales, who last year finished bottom of the table. In any case it would have taken a monumental effort from Ireland for France to have had any hopes of lifting the title, and try as they might, the girls in green succumbed to the side who will now be raging favourites heading into this summer s World Cup.
England led 24-5 at the break with tries from Vanessa Huxford, Amy Garnett, Vicky Massarella and Helen Clayton early on in the game.
The home team had the aid of a huge breeze at their backs in that opening half, with Ireland s only score coming from winger Nuala Ni Chaidhain. England s extra points came from the boot of out-half Karen Andrews. Ireland were being put under huge pressure up front but out wide they did manage some strong attacks with centre Lynne Cantwell and wing Grace Davitt making plenty of yards. Ten minutes into the second half, Ireland scored again, this time from number eight Joy Neville, following sustained pressure from a wave of Irish attacks deep in England s territory.
Ireland suffered a double injury blow early in the half when they lost captain Sarahjane Belton and prop Marie Barrett and England were quick to capitalise when Clayton crossed for her second, Michaela Staniford crashed over and wing Danielle Waterman skipped the line for her try.
Irish coach Philip Doyle said:
We were happy with lots of aspects of our game. Our first try was right off the training paddock and we battled to the end. England are a fantastic team and I wish them well in the future, but for us this season has been about trying things out and getting some combinations going before the World Cup this summer and we ll take a lot from games like this.
Scorers Ireland: Tries: N Ni Chaidhain, J Neville
Scorers England: Tries: V Huxford, A Garnett, V Massarella, H Clayon (2), D Waterman, M Staniford,
Cons: K Andrews (2)
Ireland: J O Sullivan, N Ni Chaidhan, L Cantwell, P Kelly, G Davitt, SJ Belton (c), T Rosser, F Coughlan , J Lonergan, M Barrett, C Mahon, G Healy, O Brennan, R Boyd J Neville:
Replacements: G McAllister (for Barrett 50),Y Nolan (for Lonergan 62), S Ryan (for G Healy 60), L Beamish (for T Rosser 75), A Greensmith (for SJ Belton 55) , S Fleming (for N Ni Chaidhain 62)
England: V Massarella, C Barras, M Staniford, K Oliver, D Waterman, K Andrew, J Yapp (c), V Huxford, A Garnett, V Gray, T Taylor, R Vickers, G Stevens, H Clayton, C Spencer
Referee: Hugh David (WRU)
Women s Six Nations Round Up
England captured the 2006 Women s Six Nations Grand Slam in some style this weekend, defeating Ireland 39-10 at Old Albanians RFC in their final game.
Following a hugely impressive win over France last weekend, England were always favourites going into this clash, and the champions will go into this summer s World Cup full of confidence.
One of the real highlights of this season s tournament however has been the revival of the Welsh challenge. Wales - the side that finished bottom of last season s Six Nations table and the side that subsequently failed to qualify for the World Cup, won four out of their five games this season, to pip France to second place.
Their first ever victory over France in their last outing was overshadowed by a broken leg to winger Non Evans which caused an hour s delay in the game. Evans was injured early in the second half after France had gone ahead with a converted try and penalty. But Wales fought back to edge victory at Pontypridd and ensure that second spot in the final table. Their victory was all the more remarkable given that they only managed to post ten points past a poor Spanish team the week before.
France, title winners for the past two seasons, suffered two losses this year, slipping 28 points against England and then losing 11-10 to Wales in their final game. They will still travel to Canada this summer however as strong contenders to reach the later stages of the competition.
Scotland beat Ireland and Spain this year, but were extremely close to toppling the resurgent Welsh team, eventually going down 5-0 in the second round. They ended their tournament with a four point victory over Spain.
Ireland s season got off to the perfect start with a 25-10 victory over Spain but they have struggled to get points on the board since then, managing only seventeen points from their losses to Wales and England - since the opening day.
Spain finished bottom of the table this year although they ran Scotland close in their final game and they were unlucky not to post some points against Wales in that tight loss.
Ireland vs Spain, 25-10
England vs Wales, 38-15
France vs Scotland, 23-3
Wales vs Scotland, 5-0
France vs Ireland, 32-0
England vs Spain, 86-3
Wales vs Ireland 14-7
England vs Scotland, 22-5
France vs Spain, 38-0
Wales vs Spain, 10-0
Scotland vs Ireland, 9-0
England vs France, 28-0
Wales vs France, 11-10
England vs Ireland 39-10
Spain vs Scotland 12-16
IWRFU Press Officer