England Women 20 – 13 Wales Women
England Women captain Sarah Hunter could not contain her excitement after setting up a Grand Slam decider against France in Vannes by beating Wales at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
The World Champions have not won a Grand Slam or a Women’s Six Nations title since 2012, but Ceri Large’s double was enough for England to hold out against a Robyn Wilkins-inspired Wales comeback and triumph 20-13.
They now head across the Channel for a winner-takes-all clash against France Women, who they have not beaten in this Championship since 2012.
Jean-Michel Gonzalez’s side may have lost to Wales in round three, but their superior points difference means a victory would clinch the title.
Although a Grand Slam beckons for Hunter, she urged her teammates to savour victory over a tough Wales team before gearing up to take on France.
“We’re not looking too far ahead,” the No.8 said. “The things that didn’t go that well for us will have to get better for France next week, but at the moment we will recover hard, enjoy the victory and look forward to next weekend.
“Wales threw everything against us and they came back and the momentum swung against us and we really had to dig deep and find a little bit extra in that game to make sure we finished off with a win.
“It was a really hard-fought victory, but we’ve said as we have gone along this tournament that we’ll take each match as it comes.
“A lot of the senior players stepped up and said we now have to show what an England player is all about. We talked about getting victories at home and the Stoop has become our ‘Super Stoop’ as it did in the autumn.”
Scotland Women 0 – 24 France Women
Scotland Women Head Coach Shade Munro was proud of his charges after their 24-0 loss to France and the former second-row was hopeful his team could begin to turn the tide against Ireland this weekend.
Munro’s side are without a Women’s Six Nations win since 2010, but showed promising signs against the French at Cumbernauld, with Lisa Thomson and Jade Konkel outstanding for the hosts.
Lana Skeldon too was at her abrasive best and Munro was happy with the way his team approached a powerful French pack, their aggressive attitude providing a blueprint for future success.
But with Ireland unbeaten at home, Munro’s side face a tough task at Donnybrook.
“We’re feeling disappointed because we were in it. We can compete, we can beat these teams. It’s not a quick fix though,” Munro said.
“The effort was there. I’m proud of their attitude and the performance they put in, but there’s still lots of work to be done.”
“We scrummaged well against a much heavier, experienced pack. Our line-outs were excellent and we won as much ball as we could.
“We had a really good first half. One of the things that the French bring to the game is physicality – they’re bigger, stronger, fitter, faster. But we took it to them, we didn’t back off.”
Ireland Women 14 – 3 Italy Women
Ireland Women Head Coach Tom Tierney said his girls weathered a storm against Italy and are building impressive squad depth ahead of Scotland’s arrival next weekend.
Niamh Briggs’ side fell behind to an early Italy penalty, only to battle back and emerge as 14-3 victors, but it was Ireland’s resilience in the face of Italian pressure which pleased him most.
With a home World Cup next year, Tierney continued to blood new players and prop Lindsay Peat even pitched in with a try on her Six Nations debut.
Despite looking towards the future, Tierney is not taking Scotland lightly and suggests improvement is necessary.
“We just weathered the storm at certain stages and we got the scores when we needed,” he said.
“Obviously the performance at times was disjointed and that was only natural and we knew that was going to happen.
“Thankfully today we put in a performance at certain stages that got the job done and it is a great opportunity to see girls who have been very, very impressive in camps and in training and in club games, to see what they’re made of on the international stage.”
“We have to be respectful to what we’re playing at the moment because we want to win our matches, but also we have to see the longer term picture.”
Women’s 6 Nations table after round 4:
Report courtesy of RBS 6 Nations