Women’s Six Nations aces light up domestic rugby

Nikki Caughey 19/11/2016
It was a defining weekend in women’s domestic rugby as France and Wales got their campaigns underway and Ireland’s came to a thrilling climax.

It was a defining weekend in women’s domestic rugby as France and Wales got their campaigns underway and Ireland’s came to a thrilling climax.

Here’s a look at all of the action as the stars of Women’s Six Nations lit up leagues across Europe.

Dramatic draw crowns Leinster champions

The Irish Interprovincial Series produced a script to savour, right until the final breath of the season.

Great rivals Leinster and Munster met in Donnybrook on Saturday knowing the victor on the night would claim the title – but no-one bargained for a 14-14 draw.

With over 80 minutes played it still could have gone either way, Munster’s Niamh Briggs narrowly failing to convert Rachel Allen-Connolly’s try with the final kick of the game.

Leinster flanker Juliet Short scored her fourth try of the tournament to break the deadlock deep into the second-half, after Ireland star Nikki Caughey kicked them ahead early on.

It proved enough for Sene Naoupu, ever-present in the Women’s Six Nations, and her side to prevail on points difference and lift the trophy for the fifth time in the province’s history.

Blues and Scarlets start strong in Wales

Cardiff Blues and Scarlets began the revamped Regional Championship with wins as Wales head coach Rowland Phillips runs the rule over talent for the 2019 Women’s Six Nations.

Wales wing Jasmine Joyce made the case to add to her two starts in the 2018 Championship with a brace to hand Scarlets a 15-12 victory over RGC Women.

The 22-year-old ran in two tries in the first 15 minutes to set up the win, although international colleague Gwenllian Prys made it a nervy finish with a second-half score.

Blues made a confident start towards overhauling champions Ospreys with a 24-5 win over Dragons at Pontypridd.

They fell just short of a bonus point but tries came from Joanne Jones, Danyelle Di’Napoli and Rafiuke Taylor, while Dragons hit back through Kim Boaler on 70 minutes.

Montpellier lay down marker

Reigning Women’s Six Nations champions France look to have a production line laced with attacking intent as the opening weekend of Elite 1 delivered tries galore.

Last season’s domestic winners Montpellier blew away newly-promoted Stade Francais in an eye-catching Pool 1 fixture, running in eight tries to win 41-7 at Stade Yves du Manoir.

Former France captain Gaelle Mignot marked her return to the club with a try, while twins Marine and Romane Menager both crossed the whitewash in the emphatic triumph.

Blagnac pushed past Stade Rennais 26-18 on the opening night of the season

Rennes centre Yolaine Yengo scored two first-half tries to give them a 15-3 half-time lead, but Blagnac responded with a try from Ophelie Vanel before Lena Auriol came off the bench to score the winner.

Elsewhere, last year’s runners-up Toulouse, for whom France captain Gaelle Hermet plies her trade, beat Bordeaux 53-0, while semi-finalists Lille Metropole were beaten 27-19 at home by AS Bayonnaise.

Daley-McLean strikes for Lightning in Wasps win

If there’s a trophy to be won in rugby, you can be pretty sure Loughborough Lightning’s Katy Daley-McLean has lifted it.

The fly-half was a key part of the side that won the Grand Slam in the 2017 Women’s Six Nations and starred in scoring 42 points in the 2018 Championship.

Her sights are now set on winning the Tyrrells Premier 15s with Lightning, her new team sparkling in a 40-20 win over Wasps.

Daley-McLean used all of her experience to run in a 50-metre interception try in the first half, outpacing England colleague Nolli Waterman in the process.

Abigail Dow, who scored three tries in the 2018 Women’s Six Nations, ended on the losing side despite scoring two tries.

Elsewhere, champions Saracens made it two wins from two and England’s Poppy Cleall scored a hat-trick in a 43-7 defeat of Worcester Valkyries.