USA Eagles no match for the Red Roses

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By Mark Stevens

England Women’s head coach Simon Middleton was full of praise for his side as they ran in 15 tries on their way to a comprehensive 89-0 win over the USA Eagles at Sixways.

The Red Roses got off to a blistering start, scoring inside the opening two minutes, Vickii Cornborough peeling off the back of a five-metre attacking line-out and powering over. Helena Rowland was successful with the conversion.

Having been nominated for World Rugby Try of the Season earlier in the week, Abby Dow showed why, as she scored England's second from inside her own half, handing the hosts a 12-0 lead inside five minutes.

The USA - who included Exeter Chiefs duo Kate Zackary and Jennine Detiveuax in their starting line-up - struggled to keep up with England's speed and intensity, and soonMiddleton's charges had their third try, taken by Worcester's own Lydia Thompson on her 50th Test.

They reached 22 points on the half hour mark courtesy of a Lark Davies rolling maul try, and ended the half under the sticks, as Leanne Infante sniped from the base of a two-metre ruck to dot down, giving Rowland the easiest of conversions.

The Red Roses started the second half how they ended the first, scoring inside the opening 40 seconds. From the half way line Rowland broke down the left flank, linking up with Lagi Tuima, who cantered over. Rowland converted the effort she assisted.

England captain Zoe Aldcroft dotted down in the same corner just minutes later, perplexing the USA defence with a dummy, before darting through the gap it created, and breezing over the line from 35 metres.

England's attack did not let off, as Rowland claimed the eighth try of the game just before the 50-minute mark, converting her effort to make it 48-0.

And further scores from Heather Cowell, two from Sarah Bern, Davies, Thompson, Connie Powell on debut and Holly Aitchison rounded off a comprehensive 89-0 display in Worcester.

Post-game, Middleton said: "I’m absolutely delighted with today’s result and performance. We defended fantastically well, sometimes when you score that many tries, you overlook it a little bit, but defensively we were aggressive.

"We didn't contest the breakdown well enough in the first half, but defence shows the desire of a side, and we were desperate when they had the ball not to let them score.

“In the second period we were brilliant. We’ve learned a lot about the squad. Sadia Kabeya was absolutely outstanding again today. Abby Dow can cause a lot of problems from full back and has shown that on the international stage. Zoe Aldcroft can definitely lead an England team.

“The debutants who came on were fantastic. Connie Powell gets a try and I thought Lucy Packer was brilliant. She really set the game alight when she came on. They’re key positions for us, hooker and scrum half.

“It was a brilliant crowd at Sixways and capped off a fine autumn period where supporters at all stadiums have backed us. We’ll now take some time to reflect and look ahead to the Six Nations next year.”

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