England Women started their 2019 Six Nations campaign with a bonus-point 51-7 win against Ireland in Dublin.
On a cold night at Donnybrook, first half scores from Jess Breach and Sarah McKenna were added to by Sarah Bern, Lark Davies, Katy Daley-Mclean, Zoe Harrison, Emily Scott and Bryony Cleall in the second 40 minutes as the Red Roses ran out comfortable winners.
With England’s first meaningful attack, the ball was spun to wing Breach and she handed off two players to sprint in down the right flank after five minutes.
Daley-Mclean slotted a penalty to extend the lead and then pulled off a superbly weighted grubber that allowed McKenna to race through and dot down, as the Red Roses held a 13-0 lead at half-time.
Bern’s powerful burst from Poppy Cleall’s offload saw her score, before Davies scored from a driving maul off the back of a lineout as England secured the bonus-point.
Daley-Mclean, who had a 16-point haul on the night, then sniped over before Ireland got their only points when a powerful scrum resulted in a penalty try.
Harrison finished off some excellent offloading with a clever dummy, Scott rounded off a flowing move out on the left wing before debutant Bryony Cleall got England’s eighth and final score of the night as she powered over from close range.
Head coach Simon Middleton said: “There is a lot to work on especially with our execution, but both defensively and offensively we delivered some of the things we’ve been working in training on so I’m really pleased with that.
“In the second half it was about getting some of the girls off the bench and into international rugby, and getting as many minutes into them as possible.”
The Red Roses next face France Women at Castle Park, Doncaster on Sunday 10 February (KO 12.45pm), with France opening their 2019 Six Nations at home against Wales tomorrow (Saturday, KO 8pm GMT).
Middleton added: “We’ll celebrate the win tonight, then tomorrow we’ll recover and let everyone mentally switch off and we’ll be back on it from Monday with all of our focus on France in Doncaster.”
Ireland 7 – 51 England
Tries: Breach, McKenna, Bern, Davies, Daley-Mclean, Harrison, E Scott, B Cleall
Conversions: Daley-Mclean (4)
England match-day 23 against Ireland
15. Sarah McKenna (Saracens Women, 18 caps)
14. Jess Breach (Harlequins Ladies, 3 caps)
13. Emily Scarratt (Loughborough Lightning, 75 caps, Harrison (58 min))
12. Tatyana Heard (Gloucester-Hartpury, 3 caps)
11. Kelly Smith (Gloucester-Hartpury, 6 caps, Scott (63 min))
10. Katy Daley-Mclean (Loughborough Lightning, 103 caps)
9. Leanne Riley (Harlequins Ladies, 25 caps, Hunt (63 min))
1. Hannah Botterman (Saracens Women, 6 caps, B Cleall (55 min))
2. Lark Davies (Worcester Valkyries, 14 caps)
3. Sarah Bern (Bristol Bears Women, 21 caps, Brown (47 min))
4. Catherine O’Donnell (Loughborough Lightning, 8 caps)
5. Poppy Cleall (Saracens Women, 25 caps, Burnfield (47 min))
6. Sarah Beckett (Firwood Waterloo, 2 caps)
7. Marlie Packer (Saracens Women, 62 caps, Cokayne (34min))
8. Sarah Hunter (Loughborough Lightning, 109 caps, Galligan (68 min))
16. Amy Cokayne (Wasps FC Ladies, 42 caps)
17. Bryony Cleall (Saracens Women, 1 cap)
18. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies, 6 caps)
19. Rosie Galligan (Saracens Women, 1 cap)
20. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond Ladies, 48 caps)
21. Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury, 42 caps)
22. Zoe Harrison (Saracens Women, 9 caps)
23. Emily Scott (Harlequins Ladies, 24 caps)
England Women 2019 Six Nations fixtures
Ireland 7 – 51 England
Friday 1 February
Energia Park Donnybrook, Dublin
England v France
Sunday 10 February, KO 12.45pm GMT – live Sky Sports
Castle Park, Doncaster
Wales v England
Sunday 24 February, KO 12.30pm GMT – live Sky Sports
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
England v Italy
Saturday 9 March, KO 12.05pm GMT – live Sky Sports
Sandy Park, Exeter
England v Scotland
Saturday 16 March, KO 7.30pm (approx. – following the conclusion of the men’s game) – live Sky Sports
Courtesy of the RFU