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Red Roses romp to three-peat Grand Slam title

The Red Roses completed a historic three-peat of Grand Slams with a huge 42-21 victory in Bordeaux. 

A brace from Alex Matthews, alongside other scores from Maud Muir, Meg Jones, Marlie Packer and Amy Cockayne steered England to their sixth Six Nations title in a row.

John Mitchell’s side got off to the perfect start, with two tries in the opening 12 minutes. The first came through Maud Muir, as she powered over from close range. Her effort was swiftly followed by Alex Matthews, who slithered through a gap in the French defence to score. Both efforts were converted.

France eventually did get a foothold in the game, and they finally scored though Gabrielle Vernier. Powerful work from the forwards drew the defence in, and the centre darted through a gaping hole to score.

Some sloppy defence from France gifted England an easy third try, as Meg Jones intercepted a pass to stroll in. France responded instantly though, as Marine Menager broke down the wing to dot down.

The dominance of the Red Roses pack started to take it’s toll, and it earned England two late tries in the half. Marlie Packer was on hand for the first, as she flopped over the line from the base of a maul. In the final play of the half, another powerful maul allowed Amy Cokayne to score in similar fashion.

Meg Jones celebrates Red Roses' third try-Credit: IMAGO

Meg Jones celebrates Red Roses’ third try-Credit: IMAGO

Red Roses defence stands tall

Things went from bad to worse for the French after the break, as Assia Khalfaoui was sent to the sin-bin. This was later upgraded to a red card after review.

Despite being a player down, France appeared to be the more threatening team. Basketball-esq offloading allowed them to break through England’s defence on multiple occasions, however they weren’t able to deliver the killer blow.

Their best chance came in the 63rd minute. Powerful carries from the French pack hammered the Red Roses line; however just as they looked like scoring Menager spilt the ball and the chance went begging.

Credit: IMAGO

France came straight back though, and they eventually scored through Menager. A great carry from Vernier got them in behind the Red Roses defence, and quick hands got the ball out to the winger for her second try of the game.

England responded well though. Emily Scarratt leapt highest to claim the kick-off, which eventually led to their sixth of the evening. A delayed pass from Connie Powell allowed Matthews to dart through a gaping hole to notch her second of the game.

The hosts wouldn’t go down without a fight though, and they again marched down the pitch. They thought they had scored through Ambre Mwayembe, however stellar defence from Abbie Ward denied the prop a try.

With the clock in the red, France looked to throw one final punch, but another costly error gifted Holly Aitchinson the ball; and she smacked the ball out to rubber stamp their Grand Slam title.

France 21-42 Red Roses

Credit: IMAGO

France: 21

Tries: Vernier, Menager x2

Conversions: Queyroi (3/3)

England: 42

Tries: Muir, Matthews x2, Jones, Packer, Cokayne 

Conversions: Aitchinson (6/6)