Doyle happy with progress despite losing to England
England Ireland 23 6
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)