England v Wales (Womens's International)
England Back in Winning Form
England are back in winning form, defeating Wales comfortably 40-0 at London Welsh RFC in Kew, 24th March 2002. Having slipped against France in the last round of the Women's Six Nations, England, currently ranked third in the world behind New Zealand and the USA, were determined to get back on track in the build-up to the World Cup this May.
A side that saw several changes from the team that ran out against France started strongly, with a try from captain Paula George from fullback after 8 minutes, converted by no.8 Claire Frost. Two more tries in the first half from centres Nicki Jupp and Selena Rudge gave the home side a 21-0 lead at the break.
Rudge struck again shortly after play resumed, with Jupp keeping level with her second try only three minutes later. The middle of the second saw Wales regroup and launch some promising attacks, after having been altogether starved of ball up to that point. But it was England in the form of Jupp again who finished things off, notching her hat-trick with a beautiful individual effort on 77 minutes that saw her sidestep and shimmy through an exhausted Welsh defence to bring the final total to 40-0.
Despite the win, England Head Coach Geoff Richards, with his eyes now firmly fixed on Barcelona and the World Cup, was conservative in his praise. "I think we were over-anxious at the beginning, trying to do too much, too soon. That was coupled with good Welsh defence, which was up very quickly, slowing the ball down and spoiling very well. The score itself was immaterial. Whilst we did some good things, we were a bit disappointed with our execution, or lack of, on occasion. There wasn't the precision there that we wanted. We created a lot of opportunities, but we failed to capitalise on those and finish them off."
Captain Paula George echoed his sentiments. "It was a good opportunity
for us today to go out and prove to ourselves and each other and to a
great home crowd that we can play some rugby and put some good play together.
As Geoff said, we just need to put it together now for longer period of
time, hold onto the ball for longer and control it for longer."