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Powerful English bring Ireland's unbeaten run to a shuddering halt

England 27 Ireland 0

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Ireland fail to stop Sarah McKenna scoring a try for England. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Ireland fail to stop Sarah McKenna scoring a try for England. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

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Ireland fail to stop Sarah McKenna scoring a try for England. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Ireland's unbeaten run in the 2020 Women's Six Nations was halted emphatically yesterday by an impressive England outfit who look almost certain to reclaim the crown.

England's performances to date in the competition, a 19-13 win over France in Pau followed by a 53-0 thumping of Scotland behind closed doors in Murrayfield, would suggest that the holders are on their way to another Grand Slam.

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Ireland's Lindsay Peat is stopped by England's defence. Photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington

Ireland's Lindsay Peat is stopped by England's defence. Photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington

Action Images via Reuters

Ireland's Lindsay Peat is stopped by England's defence. Photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington

Despite the heavy defeat, head coach Adam Griggs will be more concerned with the loss of Leinster duo Lindsay Peat and Sene Naoupu who were both stretchered off.

The hosts were quick to show their intentions with Jess Breach breaking for the line within the opening minute, the score only prevented by Eimear Considine bringing her down a metre short.

However, England's opening try did come very quickly when the superior England pack walked a scrum into the Irish in-goal area and captain Sarah Hunter was able to collapse onto the ball.

Losing Peat to injury after just 10 minutes certainly wasn't going to help Ireland's cause and that was proven just moments later when Abby Dow dotted down for the Red Roses' second try.

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Ireland's Cliodhna Moloney is stopped by England's defence. Photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington

Ireland's Cliodhna Moloney is stopped by England's defence. Photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington

Action Images via Reuters

Ireland's Cliodhna Moloney is stopped by England's defence. Photo: Reuters/Molly Darlington

Delightful play across their backline provided an overlap on the right wing with Dow on Sarah McKenna's shoulder to go across in the corner.

The combination of Katy Daley-McLean and Emily Scarratt caused problems for Ireland every time England were in possession and it was the latter whose pass put Breach away for her 22nd try in just 13 international appearances.

A dominant first half was completed with the bonus point for England as flanker Vicky Fleetwood crashed over off the back of a lineout maul.

The second half was a little less convincing from England, although they retained possession for long spells, they lost the clinical streak in opposition territory that had been so ruthless in the first 40 minutes.

Shook

Dow thought she had got her second try just before the hour mark, however, Scarratt had passed forward in the build-up but it merely shook England from their slumber.

Soon after, full-back McKenna cut back inside and made a break for the line to score their fifth try.

That effort went unconverted as Scarratt's goal-kicking suffered in the frantic breeze swirling around Doncaster Knights' ground. Aspects of Ireland's defence, particularly in that second half where they remained under pressure but prevented their opponents from adding more than five points to their tally, will be some comfort to head coach Griggs and his coaching team.

They now sit third in the standings with two weeks to reflect and analyse yesterday's defeat before welcoming Italy to Energia Park on March 8 in Round 4.

England - S McKenna (E Scott 64); A Dow, E Scarratt, A Reed, J Breach; K Daley-McLean (Z Harrison 65), L Riley (N Hunt 54); V Cornborough (D Harper 65), L Davies (A Cokayne 54), S Bern (S Brown 54); P Cleall, Z Aldcroft; S Beckett (H Millar-Mills 60), V Fleetwood (A Harper 65), S Hunter (capt).

Ireland - E Considine, L Delany, S Naoupu (Doyle 75), K Fitzhenry, A Doyle (H Tyrrell 63); C Keohane (L Muldoon 60), K Dane (N Cronin 62); L Peat (L Feely 12), C Moloney (V Dabanovich O'Mahony 66), L Djougang (L Lyons 60); A McDermott (C Cooney 47), J Bobbett; C Griffin (capt), E McMahon, A Caplice (D Wall 65).

Ref - H Davidson (SRU)

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