The Women’s Six Nations title was decided on Friday evening with France claiming their fifth Grand Slam thanks to victory in Wales, while England beat Ireland.
The French cemented their Grand Slam with a 38-3 win over Wales, the icing on the cake after an 18-17 victory against England last week.
In France, it was observed that the French ‘endowed with a formidable efficiency’ did not take long to defeat the Welsh defence as Pauline Bourdon grabbed the first try after five minutes and star player Jessy Trémoulière duly converted.
Tremouliere, not content just with converting her teammates’ efforts, was very enterprising and added her own try just before the break.
The ‘masters’ continued their domination in the second half, scoring a total of six tries to win their fifth Grand Slam – ‘the joy of the French’.
Meanwhile the Midi Olympique highlighted Carla Neisen’s try – the sixth of the night – as the standout moment in the game as Les Bleues attacked from their own 22 to score.
After England’s 33-11 victory over Ireland on Friday, The Times remarked that ‘England’s men will be dreaming that it is this simple at Twickenham.’
Praise was showered on a powerful England side which took complete control at the Ricoh Arena in front of just under 7,000.
The highest compliments were reserved for flanker Marlie Packer, who was ‘outstanding as ever’, while Sarah Bern, the tight-head prop, was ‘monstrous on the carry’ and lock Poppy Cleall ‘all industry and effectiveness.’
SHOCK AND AWE
The Red Roses ended the Championship with a flourish, deploying ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics late in the first half with tries from Packer and hooker Amy Cokayne.
England head coach Simon Middleton was pleased with how his side faced the psychological challenge after losing to France last week.
“It was tough to lose by a point and to lose in the last minute of the game,” he told The Telegraph.
“Before the Six Nations started I was asked, ‘if it goes to a decider in France and then you lose, what will you do?’
“I said, ‘if we win or we lose against France, it shows a lot about the character of the side the following week for different reasons.’
“And I think that character has really shone through. Today was a tough game and this was a tough week and the girls handled it really well.”
Friday’s match saw Danielle Waterman score a record 47th try for England, but they had to settle for second overall after the French success in Wales.
A fine performance from Ellie Kildunne, the formidable 18-year-old full-back, saw the youngster add a ninth try to her international tally to earn the player of the match accolade, while fly-half Katy Daley-McLean controlled the game impressively behind a powerful pack.
But The Guardian reported that half an hour after England’s women left the Ricoh Arena pitch they learned in the dressing room that France had taken England’s Six Nations title with a convincing 38-3 win over Wales in Colwyn Bay.
Kildunne told The Guardian: “It has been a bit of a rollercoaster and we were disappointed last weekend but it was good to end with a win.
“I’ve now got to concentrate on my A-levels in June as I’m hoping to get into uni.”