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England battle back to see off Canada in style

Sarah Bern England Women

England were given a real test in their 51-12 win over Canada at Twickenham Stoop having to come from behind for the first time this Autumn.

Tries from debutant Heather Cowell book-ended a first half in which the Red Roses were seriously challenged as Canada fought back with tries on two occasions.

Early scores from Sarah Bern and Claudia MacDonald gave England breathing space before Alex Matthews and another from MacDonald confirmed the Red Roses 17th win in a row.

It took just four minutes for Cowell to get a try on her home ground as Helena Rowland sent the ball out wide, Zoe Harrison missed the conversion having made all eight last week.

England head coach Simon Middleton predicted a tougher, more physical test than the Black Ferns and England got it, Canada routinely matching the Red Roses in the pack.

Cowell’s fellow debutant Sadia Kabeya then got involved intercepting a bouncing Canada pass, but it was an intercept by the Canadians that saw the next score.

Paige Farries stole a quick pass intended for Sarah McKenna and raced over from the halfway line, the successful conversion by Brianna Miller meant for the first time this autumn England were trailing.

After more Canada attack, England were finally able to get some relief as they kicked for a lineout, the resulting phase play found Bern who dotted down to swing the lead back England’s way.

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Harrison then further extended the Red Roses’ advantage kicking England’s first penalty of the autumn before the Maple Leafs fought back with another break down the left wing this time by Sabrina Poulin.

England had the last say in a tricky first half as Cowell went over for a second time to see the Red Roses lead 20-12 at the break.

Player of the Match Bern was over again straight after the restart, picking another gap through the Canadian defence who were unable to haul her down.

The Red Roses maul worked better in the second feeding scrum-half MacDonald who went over to further extend England’s lead, as Harrison made her second conversion of the afternoon.

Last week’s captain Poppy Cleall won England a penalty on her 50th cap to put an end to a period of pressure by the visitors as Harrison kicked the three points.

Replacement Matthews followed Bern’s lead running straight through a gap in a tiring Canadian defence, with Rowland handed the kicking duties and successfully moving England over 30 points clear.

MacDonald got her second of the game with Harrison moving England past 50 for the second weekend in a row to seal a determined victory.