Merciless England defeat Ireland 88-10 in Round 4 of Six Nations

Merciless England defeat Ireland 88-10 in Round 4 of Six Nations
Grace Fisher
Grace Fisher

ENGLAND WOMEN 88 IRELAND WOMEN 10, Twickenham Stadium
Scorers: England: Tries: Abby Dow 3, Natasha Hunt, Megan Jones 2, Zoe Aldcroft, Ellie Kildunne 3, Jess Breach 2, Sadiya Kabeya, Maddie Feaunati; Cons: Holly Aitchison 9
Ireland: Try: Penalty try; Con: Pen try con; Pen: Dannah O'Brien
HT: England 38 Ireland 3

Guinness Women's Six Nations Grand Slam hunters England showed their class in a runaway 88-10 victory at Twickenham Stadium, as Ireland turned in a frustratingly error-strewn performance.

Boosted by last week's bonus point win over Wales, Ireland endured a deflating afternoon at England Rugby HQ, conceding 14 tries as Abby Dow and player-of-the-match Ellie Kildunne both claimed hat-tricks.

A rampant England produced their best attacking performance of the tournament, chalking up their bonus point by the 18th minute on their way to a 38-3 half-time lead.


Ireland's overworked defence was giving too much time and space to the world's number-one ranked team. Apart from Dannah O'Brien's 23rd-minute penalty, it was a sobering first half with individual errors ruthlessly punished.

Jess Breach and Sadiya Kabeya took the defending Six Nations champions to 50 points, before Ireland scored their first try against England since 2019. A powerful lineout maul drew a penalty try and a yellow card for England replacement Lucy Packer.

However, missed tackles continued to haunt the girls in green, who close out the Championship against Scotland at Kingspan Stadium next Saturday - tickets are available here. They will have to quickly bounce back from their heaviest defeat to England since 2002's 79-0 loss in Worcester.

Megan Jones, Dow, Kildunne (2), Jess Breach, and replacement Maddie Feaunati strung together six closing tries, much to the delight of the vast majority of the 48,778-strong crowd. Out-half Holly Aitchison finished with 18 points, having nailed nine conversions.


Two turnovers, combined with an O'Brien kick finding grass, gave Ireland some early territory before the hosts laid down a marker with a commanding first scrum, and some ground-gaining carries.

Alex Matthews' midfield break got the title holders in behind the Irish defence, and despite Béibhinn Parsons' solid tackle on Kabeya, the ball got to Dow who evaded both Aoibheann Reilly and Lauren Delany to score in the sixth minute.

Scrum half Natasha Hunt doubled England's lead three minutes later, making the initial break and then capitalising on some space around the side of a close-in ruck. Her half-back partner, Aitchison, converted to put 12 points between the sides.

Disappointed to concede those scores, particularly with question marks over a possible forward pass and a knock-on before either grounding, Ireland needed to gain a foothold. England continued to click in attack though, with Hunt's pass from a ruck seeing Jones score beside the posts.

The bonus point was registered when big lock Zoe Aldcroft handed off full-back Delany to go in under the posts. The initial damage was caused by full-back Kildunne surging back downfield after a low O'Brien kick was not read by her team-mates.

Punchier carrying from the likes of Christy Haney and Brittany Hogan brought Ireland up to the English 22, and a well-struck O'Brien kick got them on the scoreboard.

Kildunne continued to cause problems for the Irish defence, and she registered her seventh try of the tournament after the English forwards had forced penalties from a scrum and a maul. Aitchison's extras made it 33-3.

Driven on by tireless captain Edel McMahon, Ireland managed to hold up Hannah Botterman, with Neve Jones and her fellow forwards doing just enough. Dow missed out on a second try when knocking on in the act of scoring, as Aoife Wafer and Eve Higgins forced the error.

Nonetheless, England continued to generate quick ball, and with Ireland's lineout misfiring, possession was moved wide for Kildunne to send Dow over in the 37th minute. Jones almost got her second score just before the interval, but it was ruled out for a forward pass.

The Red Roses won the kicking battle early on the resumption, and with the Irish defence exposed out wide, winger Breach stayed clear of Katie Corrigan to get on the scoresheet with 43 minutes on the clock.

With England earning another scrum penalty to keep the pressure on, flanker Kabeya turned out of a tackle to ground the ball despite Aoife Dalton's attempt to hold her up. Following TMO confirmation of the score, Aitchison took her side to a half-century of points.

Ireland went unrewarded for some better phase-building, with Wafer and replacement Clíodhna Moloney making more of an impact with ball in hand. A strong scrum also won a penalty, and from there the pack delivered the goods from a Hogan-won lineout.

A well-executed lineout drive, with Moloney initially in control before Linda Djougang held the ball for the second wave, resulted in a 55th-minute penalty try. Lucy Packer also saw yellow for coming in from the side and tackling a leg before the maul was grounded short.

Jones and Kabeya were prominent as England responded quickly, with the former's sidestepping run taking her past McMahon to bag her brace. Aitchison tagged on her sixth successful conversion to make it 57-10.

Before Packer's return, England ran in a blistering breakaway effort, profiting from a loose Irish lineout as Dow, shrugging off Parsons' attempted tackle, completed her hat-trick from the right wing. Aitchison split the posts with another accurate kick.

Ireland's defence gave way again in the 68th minute, as replacement Emily Scarratt and Dow pulled the strings from a first-phase move and released the free-running Kildunne to touch down, with Aitchison following up with the conversion.

Luck was on England's side when they did not need it, as a kick through was partially blocked by Wafer and the ball sat up invitingly for Breach to raid over on the left.

Former World Rugby Player of the Year Scarratt then slipped a lovely dink through to set up Kildunne's hat-trick score. With Ireland caught narrow again in the 76th minute, Breach was brought to ground but offloaded for Feaunati to close out the scoring.

TIME LINE: 6 minutes - England try: Abby Dow - 5-0; conversion: missed by Holly Aitchison - 5-0; 9 mins - England try: Natasha Hunt - 10-0; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 12-0; 12 mins - England try: Megan Jones - 17-0; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 19-0; 18 mins - England try: Zoe Aldcroft - 24-0; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 26-0; 23 mins - Ireland penalty: Dannah O'Brien - 26-3; 27 mins - England try: Ellie Kildunne - 31-3; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 33-3; 37 mins - England try: Abby Dow - 38-3; conversion: missed by Holly Aitchison - 38-3; Half-time - England 38 Ireland 3; 43 mins - England try: Jess Breach - 43-3; 48 mins - England try: Sadiya Kabeya - 48-3; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 50-3; 55 mins - Ireland penalty try & conversion - 50-10; 55 mins - England yellow card: Lucy Packer; 57 mins - England try: Megan Jones - 55-10; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 57-10; 63 mins - England try: Abby Dow - 62-10; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 64-10; 68 mins - England try: Ellie Kildunne - 69-10; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 71-10; 71 mins - England try: Jess Breach - 76-10; conversion: Holly Aitchison - 78-10; 74 mins - England try: Ellie Kildunne - 83-10; conversion: missed by Ellie Kildunne - 83-10; 76 mins - England try: Maddie Feaunati - 88-10; conversion: missed by Holly Aitchison - 88-10; Full-time - England 88 Ireland 10

ENGLAND WOMEN: Ellie Kildunne (Harlequins); Abby Dow (Trailfinders Women), Megan Jones (Leicester Tigers), Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury), Jess Breach (Saracens); Holly Aitchison (Bristol Bears), Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury); Hannah Botterman (Bristol Bears), Lark Atkin-Davies (Bristol Bears), Maud Muir (Gloucester-Hartpury), Morwenna Talling (Sale Sharks), Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury), Sadia Kabeya (Loughborough Lightning), Marlie Packer (Saracens) (capt), Alex Matthews (Gloucester-Hartpury).

Replacements used: Connie Powell (Harlequins) for Atkin-Davies (34 mins), Mackenzie Carson (Gloucester-Hartpury) for Botterman (44), Lucy Packer (Harlequins) for Hunt, Kelsey Clifford (Saracens) for Muir (both 49), Maddie Feaunati (Exeter Chiefs) for M Packer (60), Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning) for Heard (62), Sydney Gregson (Saracens) for Jones (67), Lizzie Hanlon (Exeter Chiefs) for Clifford (75).

IRELAND WOMEN: Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby); Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster), Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College/Connacht); Dannah O'Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College/Connacht); Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury), Christy Haney Blackrock College/Leinster), Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/Munster), Hannah O'Connor (Blackrock College/Leinster), Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College/Leinster), Edel McMahon (Exeter Chiefs) (capt), Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere/Ulster).

Replacements used: Enya Breen (Blackrock College/Munster) for Higgins, Méabh Deely (Blackrock College/Connacht) for Delany (both half-time), Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere/Ulster) for O'Connor, Clíodhna Moloney (Exeter Chiefs) for Jones (both 44), Niamh O'Dowd (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Haney (48), Shannon Ikahihifo (Trailfinders Women/IQ Rugby) for Hogan (55), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Leinster) for Reilly (59), Sadhbh McGrath (Cooke/Ulster) for Djougang (61).

Referee: Aurélie Groizeleau (France)

Report sourced from IRFU.

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