Houston tests English resolve
IRELAND'S ladies gave England their first serious test of the Six Nations campaign at Esher yesterday, but ended up being outscored by four tries to one in their 100th competitive match.
The visitors battled back doggedly after conceding two tries in the opening six minutes, by Maggie Alphonsi and Emily Scarratt.
They pulled back a score from centre Shannon Houston midway through the half after fine work from second-row Mary Louise Reilly. Those were the first points England had conceded in the competition, in their third game.
Ireland, though, were unable to capitalise further on some good possession and England turned the screw after the break, with Rochelle Clark getting the decisive third try. Replacement Amy Turner added a late fourth.
England -- F Pocock; K Merchant (R Essex 66), E Scarratt, A Richardson (R Burford45), M Staniford; K McLean, l Mason (A Turner 45); R Clark (C Allen 66), A Garnett (C Purdy 66), S Hemming; T Taylor, J McGilcrist (S Reeve 66); H Fisher (J Leonard 52), M Alphonsi, C Spencer.
Ireland -- N Briggs; N Stapleton, J O'Sullivan, S Houston (G Davitt 62), A Davis (A Miller 68); H Brosnan, T Rosser (L Beamish 75); F Coughlin (L Austin 68), C Fanning (G Burke 67), L Day (K McManamly 65); K O'Loughlin, Mary Louise Reilly; O Brennan (C Stainton 68), C Molloy, J Nevill.
Ref -- S Marrama (FIR)