Danielle Waterman became England’s all-time record try-scorer as she helped her side finish their 2018 Women’s Six Nations campaign with a fine victory over Ireland.
In front of a record crowd for a Women’s Six Nations match in England at the Ricoh Arena, 33-year-old Waterman opened the scoring to put the home team on track for a 33-11 victory, recording her 47th try for her country to single herself out as the most prolific scorer in Red Roses history.
Simon Middleton’s side, who last time out suffered an 18-17 defeat at the hands of France, champions courtesy of their win over Wales, took an 11th-minute lead through Waterman’s landmark score.
The experience full-back bundled her way over the line to make it 5-0 before the visitors hit back nine minutes later, Hannah Tyrell tucking away a penalty.
However, England took control of the contest with two quickfire tries.
First, with 26 minutes on the clock, the hosts drove forward relentlessly with a driving maul and, after they marched their way to the try line, Marlie Packer was able to dot down to grab her team’s second score of the evening.
Katy McLean added the extras and then, shortly afterwards, another maul led to England going over again, Amy Cokayne this time finishing things off as fly-half McLean bisected the posts to make it 19-3.
Ireland would have the last shout of half however, with Niamh Briggs kicking a penalty to chip away at the deficit, the home side going into the break leading by 13 points.
Two minutes into the second period, Waterman looked on track to add to her record-breaking tally as she attempted to put the finishing touches to a sweeping team move but a despairing Irish tackle stopped her in her tracks.
The two teams largely cancelled each other out for a spell but with 58 minutes on the clock, England wing Ellie Kildunne got heartbeats racing again as she made an incisive dart through the Irish defence to score.
Six minutes later, replacement Amber Reed spotted a gap and powered through to grab the hosts’ fifth try of the game, McLean adding the extras to both scores.
Ireland wouldn’t go home without a try to show for their efforts, Molloy finishing off a driving lineout with time running out, but the day belonged to Waterman and England.