RAMPANT ENGLAND OVERPOWER PLUCKY IRELAND
The Women's Six Nations Tournament is well under way now and at Worcester on Sunday, England registered their second convincing win in defeating a plucky Irish team by 79 points to 0. Few in the England team will admit to satisfaction at emulating the men's result at Twickenham the previous day, but by half time England's Women had cruised to a 46 point lead over the Irish. More than the men had scored for the whole game.
Here is where the comparisons stop though, because the Irish Women's team could hardly be fairly compared to the men's. For the Irish at Twickenham there was more than a sporting chance that the game could have gone their way. That could have been one reading of the form book. By the first minute of the first half though, England's Women brushed aside the Irish defence to race in for the first of many tries and thereafter the scoreboard was to tick over as regularly as clockwork so that by the close seventy nine points had been put on the hapless Irish. Thereafter, all that was left to the Irish Coach, Donal O'Leary, was to acknowledge England's superiority in all facets of the game. Nowhere was this more evident though, than in the manner of preparation, physique and general fitness. In the England team, the Irish were taking on a squad of superfit athletes led as usual in storming fashion by their ikon of a captain, Paula George. Times are certainly a changing when a woman's rugby player features in the Saturday Times Magazine as Paula George had the previous day.
The writing was clearly on the wall for the Irish in the names of those England players decorating the replacement bench, amongst them star players such as: Georgia Stevens, Gill Burns, Shelley Rae and Selena Rudge. Not to mention Emily Feltham who had destroyed Scotland with her free running game last season. The plan apparently had been to blood young players and give them a taste of the pressures of a full international. It is in the nature of these things though, that given a vivid performance from an emerging player, regaining your place is not always so easy. Georgia Stevens, the Clifton flanker, was one though who bucked this trend by coming on during the game and earning the title of player of the season. The award presented by England's Coach, Geoff Richards.
England, both Men and Women are riding high at the moment and there is no question that the preparation and professionalism of the men's game is being more than matched by the Women. The only surprise is that so few have discovered this. A crowd in the order of 500 to 600 is hardly an adequate measure of the hard work and commitment that the women's game now puts into such events.