England Women made it three wins from three with victory over Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday to take the lead in the Six Nations table.
Tries in each half from Emma Croker and Abbie Scott sealed victory and kept their Championship hopes on track.
England led 8-6 at the break through an early penalty from Amber Reed and Croker’s try. Croker went over in the corner off the back of a driving maul with England dominating the early stages.
Ireland slowly came back into the game and two Niamh Briggs penalties before the break brought them to within two points.
Ireland had the lead through the boot of Briggs in the early stages of the second half however, the home side came roaring back, going through several phases before Scott saw space at a ruck and darted through to cross. Reed missed the conversion, but England led 13-9 with 15 minutes remaining and held on for victory.
Captain Sarah Hunter said: “It’s such an honour to come and play at the Home of England Rugby. Ireland were the reigning Six Nations champions for the last two years and so to come here and get the win, and continue on our Six Nations journey was just a great occasion.
“We know the Six Nations is about performing and getting those wins so we knew it was going to be a battle. We knew that there was going to be no release. They showed up, they played they led but we came back. It was huge for us. We knew the importance of this game because we want to be in with a shot of winning the tournament and so we had to win today.
“It is now all about rest, recovery and analysis because, although we won tonight, it wasn’t perfect. We can always get better and better. We’ll go away, review the areas we need to work on, and we play Wales in a couple of weeks. We’ll enjoy beating Ireland at Twickenham but tomorrow we start again.”
France, who are also unbeaten, face Wales on Sunday. England then take on Wales next at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday 12 March, KO 18:05.
Report courtesy of England Rugby