Doyle happy with progress de­spite los­ing to Eng­land

Eng­land Ire­land 23 6

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports News -

IRE­LAND WOMEN’S coach Philip Doyle be­lieves Ire­land have shown they can com­pete with the world’s top sides de­spite their 23-6 Six Na­tions loss to Eng­land.

“We have brought in a lot of new caps that have done very well,” he said. “Ash­leigh Bax­ter was play­ing Di­vi­sion Two rugby back at Christ­mas and has been great at full­back this sea­son and Jen­nifer Mur­phy is a fan­tas­tic tal­ent for the fu­ture.”

Ire­land en­tered the match know­ing a 24-point-win­ning mar­gin would de­liver them a Six Na­tions cham­pi­onship. An un­likely prospect, given that their op­po­nents had only con­ceded six points in their four pre­vi­ous out­ings.

The vis­i­tors notched up six points in the open­ing 40 min­utes, through Ni­amh Briggs penal­ties, but Eng­land upped the tempo in the sec­ond half.

Full­back Emily Scar­ratt edged Eng­land in front with a 53rd­minute penalty and their cap­tain, Katy Mclean, raced clear min­utes later to de­liver the try that set­tled the con­test.

Speak­ing af­ter the match, an elated Mclean said: “All credit to Ire­land, they played a re­ally as­tute tac­ti­cal game, but it was prob­a­bly our best per­for­mance of the tour­na­ment.”

Re­place­ment hooker Amy Turner bur­rowed over for a 71stminute try that gave the score­line a one-sided look but the cham­pi­ons were pushed to the limit by an ever-im­prov­ing Ir­ish out­fit. SCOR­ERS: Ire­land 6 – Briggs two pens Eng­land: 23 – Mclean one try, two pens, two cons, Turner one try, Scar­ratt one pen IRE­LAND: A Bax­ter; N Ka­vanagh (Mur­phy 62), N Briggs, G Davitt (G Davitt 68), A Miller; L Cantwell, A Davis (L Mul­doon 66); F Cough­lan (capt), G Bourke, A Egan (P Fitz­patrick 54), ML Reilly, S Spence (S Flem­ing 75), L Guest (H O’brien 66), C Molloy, J Neville. ENG­LAND: E Scar­ratt; K Mer­chant (M Stan­i­ford 53), R Burford; K Oliver, K Wil­son; K Mclean (capt), N Hunt (LT Ma­son 53); L Keates, V Fleet­wood, S Hem­ming ( R Clark 51), R Burn­field (H Gal­lagher 51), T Tay­lor, M Packer, M Alphonsi, S Hunter. Ref­eree: Nicky In­wood (New Zealand)

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