England Women sealed a 27-19 victory over Canada, scoring five tries on the way to victory at Doncaster’s Castle Park in the second of their three Quilter Internationals.
The Red Roses led 15-7 at the break, outscoring their opponents by three tries to one.
Hooker Lark Davies scored two of England’s tries, with Poppy Cleall also going over while Alex Tessier’s converted try on the stroke of half-time reduced the deficit.
Canada scored midway through the second half through Elissa Alarie but tries from Kelly Smith and Abbie Scott settled the game before Courtney Holtkamp’s late consolation.
In the opening 30 minutes, it was England’s forwards that did the damage with tries from Davies and Cleall. The deadlock was broken after an England penalty was kicked to the corner and after the resulting lineout was driven to Canada’s line, Davies bundled over off the back of the maul for a first international try.
Soon after, England found themselves in similar territory and a pick and drive saw Davies crash over for a second.
Canada’s ill-discipline continued and after another penalty was kicked to the corner, the resulting rolling maul saw Cleall barge over for 15-0.
The visitors got back into the game in added time after Tessier latched onto Anaïs Holly’s clever kick through to dot down and Brianna Miller’s conversion reduced the deficit to eight points at the break.
Canada had a second through Elissa Alarie’s near length of the field try following an interception in her own 22m.
However, England came fighting back with the introduction of Katy Daley-Mclean settling the side and Smith showed good strength to go over in the corner while a fifth try soon followed with Scott’s pick and go from a metre out under the posts.
Canada had the last say of the game with Holtkamp bundling over from close range with Magali Harvey converting.
The Red Roses, who last Friday defeated United States 57-5, will finish their Quilter Internationals on Saturday at Twickenham Stadium, taking on Ireland after England’s men have played Australia.
For Davies her two tries earned her the player of the match and although she was happy with the result, she feels England can play better.
“Canada really brought the game to us and we had to find ways to score,” said Davies. “To come away with the win is massive for us but we still have lots of learning to do.
“It was really physical, we knew they would be good athletes and perhaps our discipline wasn’t as good as it could have been, but we are on a learning journey and to get the win is really good but we know we can be better.”
Head coach Simon Middleton said: “It was really, really tough. Canada brought exactly what we thought they would, they were physical and fit and kept going to the end.
“It was a real test for us. We gave a lot of ball away, but among it all there were some really good performances and I thought the forwards were outstanding.
“We are a work in progress, the experience we had in the pack versus the inexperience we had in the backs showed today but the younger players will learn a lot from this. We talked of a squad effort and the finishers who came off the bench were outstanding.”
England 27 – 19 Canada
Tries: Davies (2), Cleall, Smith, Scott
England Women match-day 23
15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens, 16 caps)
14. Millie Wood (Gloucester-Hartpury, 4 caps)
13. Lucy Attwood (Bristol Bears, 2 caps, Carys Williams (57 min))
12. Rachael Burford (Harlequins, 80 caps)
11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury, 4 caps)
10. Zoe Harrison (Saracens, 7 caps, Katy Daley-Mclean (58min))
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins, 23 caps, Claudia Macdonald (74 min))
1. Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins, 41 caps, Ellena Perry (69 min))
2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 12 caps, Heather Kerr (74 min))
3. Hannah Botterman (Saracens, 4 caps, Shaunagh Brown (55min))
4. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 6 caps, Zoe Aldcroft (62 min))
5. Abbie Scott (Harlequins, 31 caps)
6. Poppy Cleall (Saracens, 23 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens, 60 caps)
8. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 107 caps) ©
16. Heather Kerr (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, 15 caps)
17. Ellena Perry (Saracens, 2 caps)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins, 4 caps)
19. Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury, 8 caps)
20. Jo Brown (Loughborough Lightning, 3 caps)
21. Claudia Macdonald (Wasps FC Ladies, 2 caps)
22. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning, 101 caps)
23. Carys Williams (Loughborough Lightning, 2 caps)
2018 Quilter Internationals
- England Women 57 – 5 USA Women
Friday 9 November, Allianz Park
- England Women 27 – 19 Canada Women
Sunday 18 November, Castle Park
- England Women v Ireland Women – Saturday 24 November – Twickenham Stadium (KO 5.40pm, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix)
Courtesy of England Rugby