Scotland were preparing a guard of honour for England who were a different class to them on this occasion. (Image: Sam Few)
Kay Wilson’s record-breaking seven tries helped her England team to a vital three points against struggling Scotland in the penultimate round of the Women’s Six Nations. Wilson’s sensational seven tries were added to by an Amy Cokayne hat-trick, and one each for Danielle Waterman and Emily Scarratt, in what was a dominant display from the home side.
The conditions were perfect for rugby and in the shadow of Twickenham, England’s women shone brightest with a stunning performance. For everyone watching the match it was a great experience, and in front of a buoyant crowd this had the ingredients for an entertaining encounter.
Both teams came into the game with very different aims; England were looking to build up points should the tournament decider come down to points difference, whilst Scotland were looking to better what had been a disappointing tournament for them so far.
England saw plenty of possession in the opening exchanges, and their desire to get off to a good start was evident as they moved the ball quickly and looked to exploit gaps in the Scotland defensive line. Inevitably, their persistence was rewarded after only two minutes. The ball was worked from a ruck on the right side over to the left, where Kay Wilson collected the pass and drove to the line to give England a 5-0 lead.
Just five minutes later, Wilson was once again allowed to take advantage of space down the left and scored her second, suggesting Scotland were in for a long afternoon. Emily Scarratt had missed her first conversion, and did so again, meaning the score stood at 10-0 to the hosts. England’s dominance had prevented Scotland from being able to get a hold in the match. Their speed, power and flair proved too hot to handle.
On 11 minutes, Scotland’s Jemma Forsyth was sent to the sin bin, and almost immediately England punished this lack of discipline with their third try. The England pack drove towards the line, where Amy Cokayne managed to ground the ball in amongst several bodies. Yet again, Scarratt missed the conversion leaving England with a 15-0 lead.
The hosts’ pressure was relentless; Scotland had been on the back foot since the first whistle and were in danger of being on the wrong end of an onslaught. England thought they had scored again through Cokayne, the referee initially said the ball had been held up, but after assistance from the third match official awarded the try, giving the home side a 20-0 lead and subsequently a crucial bonus point.
With 15 minutes left of the first half, England would go on to score four more tries before the break. First, Waterman evaded challenges on the right side to put England 25-0 ahead. Next, an exquisite pass from Amber Reed put Wilson through for her hat-trick. Wilson had now scored over 100 international points, a fantastic achievement which moved England up to 30 points.
Unsurprisingly, Wilson’s fourth try after some great cross-field play meant England led by 35-0, before Harriet Millar-Mills charged down an attempted clearance from the Scots, allowing Cokayne to run straight through for her second of the afternoon.
At half-time, the score stood at 40-0 in England’s favour after eight tries in a pulsating opening half watched by a great crowd who were in full voice. The hosts had been ruthless in their point scoring and had outclassed the Scots in every area of the pitch. However, Scarratt missed all her conversions, which if scored would have compounded Scotland’s misery much further.
With the second half underway, it was clear that England would continue to dominate whilst Scotland would be subjected to soaking up the pressure and attempting to gain some consolation points. It took the leaders just four minutes to score again, with Scarratt unselfishly feeding Wilson into space for her fifth try leaving the score at 45-0.
Scotland certainly showed signs of improvement in the second half, and they began to try and take the game to England to get some points on the board. They thought they had scored their first try of the match, only for the third match official to rule it out much to the visitors’ despair.
As was to be expected, England added further points to their tally as Wilson grabbed her sixth try giving England a 50-0 advantage. With regular kicker Katy McLean absent, Scarratt had been unfortunate not to score any of her conversions. However, her persistence paid off and after skipping several challenges got the try she thoroughly deserved, before following it up with her first successful conversion to give England a 57-0 lead.
With just a few minutes remaining, the England faithful amongst the 3,628 fans inside the Stoop had been treated to an exhilarating game of rugby by their team. Wilson, who was announced as player of the match moments earlier, proved she was worthy of the award with her seventh try. After a second successive conversion by Scarratt, England had won the game by a whopping score line of 64-0.
Scotland were always up against it when looking at their form in the Six Nations, but take nothing away from a phenomenal all-round display from England. Their fans would have gone home extremely satisfied with what they saw, knowing that with the bonus point earnt today a win against Ireland next Friday will guarantee they win the tournament.