by Jordan A Jones
ENGLAND moved to the top of the Six Nations table after a comprehensive victory over Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.
Player of the match, Sarah Bern, scored two tries, alongside winger Jessica Breach. Abigail Dow, Catherine O’Donnell, Marlie Packer, Katy Daley-McLean and Sarah Beckett also scored tries for England.
Jess Kavanagh scored Wales’ try in the first half, alongside substitute Cerys Hale after she replaced USW’s Hannah Bluck.
England are now three points clear of Italy after the victory, whilst Wales are second from bottom, two points clear of Scotland, ahead of the unwanted battle of the wooden spoon at the Scotstoun Stadium in two weeks time.
England came out of the traps early and scored a try in the opening few minutes. Katy Daley-McLean kicked the ball cross-field to Catherine O’Donnell and she passed it to prop Sarah Bern for the try. Inside-centre Zoe Harrison successfully kicked the conversion.
Winger Jessica Breach exploited the space on the wing, showcasing England’s fast style of rugby, moving the ball wide for Breach to convert the second try.
England took a short line-out and used their maul to full effect, helping open-side Marlie Packer over the line.
Wales Women had their spells of pressure but were ultimately defeated by an impressive England team
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) February 24, 2019
Rowland Phillips’ side were cheap in possession when trying to attack. Elinor Snowsill tried to break down England’s backs but was blocked by Rachel Burford.
Bern had her second try of the game after breaching the last line of defence, holding off a challenge from the lasting Jasmine Joyce. Harrison successfully kicked this time.
Breach used her pace for her second try as she faked a pass to continue her scoring action as England continued their onslaught on a leaky Wales defence.
Wales were able to score their first try of the Six Nations after a shift to the left, after earning a penalty advantage, allowed Jess Kavanagh to go in for the try.
Sarah Bern was denied her hat-trick after the TMO ruled a knock-on, despite working in a pressing pack. This was a sign of Wales improving in the second half as they worked on defending against the professional outfit.
Simon Middleton’s side did score a second-half try via captain Catherine O’Donnell, TMO was required again but this time it favoured England. However, the conversion was taken before the try was awarded and not retaken, prompting questions about the points awarded.
— Nick Webb (@nickwebb2017) February 24, 2019
Abigail Dow then scored a superb individual try as she broke down the side on a sublime run, escaping three red shirts.
Sarah Beckett inflicted further damage onto Wales as was able to break through under the centre of the posts, providing Harrison with an easy conversion.
Wales buried the ball over the line through substitute Cerys Hale after a number of phases for their second try of the game.
The last action was a try from Katy Daley-McLean who side-stepped Lisa Neumann.
Wales: Thomas, Phillips (C), Evans, Crabb, Clay, Lewis, Callender, Lillicrap, Bevan, Wilkins, Kavanagh, Bluck, Jones, Joyce, Snowsill
England: Cornborough, Cokayne, Bern, O’Donnell, Scott (C), Beckett, Packer, Cleall, Hunt, Daley-McLean, Breach, Harrison, Burford, Dow, McKenna
Incident summary: Tries: Sarah Bern 3, Jessica Breach 7, Marlie Packer 14, Sarah Bern 26, Jessica Breach 30, Jess Kavanagh 34, Catherine O’Donnell 60, Abigail Dow 63, Sarah Beckett 70, Cerys Hale 76, Katy Daley-McLean 81
Conversions: Zoe Harrison 2, Zoe Harrison 26, Zoe Harrison 71, Robyn Wilkins 76