Home Sports England 89-0 United States: Hosts end victorious autumn campaign in dominant style

England 89-0 United States: Hosts end victorious autumn campaign in dominant style

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Zoe Aldcroft runs with the ball
Zoe Aldcroft scored one of England’s 15 tries in her first game as Red Roses captain
England: (29) 89
Tries: Cornborough, Dow, Thompson 2, Davies 2, Infante, Tuima, Aldcroft, Rowland, Cowell, Bern 2, Powell, Aitchison; Cons: Rowland 6, Harrison
United States: (0) 0

England ended their victorious autumn campaign in dominant style as they swept aside the United States with a 15-try win in Worcester.

The world number ones have beaten New Zealand twice and Canada in the past month and have now won 18 in a row.

Victory never looked in doubt, but there were signs of inexperience early on from the rotated England XV.

After the break, the Red Roses rediscovered their free-flowing attack and ran rampant at Sixways.

The result means England have scored 239 points across four games this autumn and conceded 39.

It has been a promising campaign, with the World Cup beginning next October, but England’s focus will first be on attempting to win a third Women’s Six Nations title in a row in April.

Dow shines for relentless England

When Vickii Cornborough crossed after just a minute of play, it was obvious the United States were in for a testing afternoon.

England full-back Abby Dow, called one of the best finishers in world rugby by head coach Simon Middleton earlier in November, did not make life any easier for the visitors.

The back seemed to repel defenders throughout the match and her explosive attack started early as she scored a stunning solo try, shrugging off four defenders and covering half the pitch to cross in the fifth minute.

As they have been all autumn, England were determined to keep up a relentless tempo in attack and line speed in defence.

It felt as if they had an extra player on the field and inevitably Lydia Thompson was the next one on the scoresheet, marking her 50th cap by scoring at her club’s home ground.

But with world player of the year nominee Poppy Cleall and experienced back row Marlie Packer two of the big names left out of an experimental squad, England’s lack of leadership in defence started to show.

There was hesitancy as the United States managed to sustain a period of pressure, but as soon as England got the ball, their Dow-powered attack shone.

The only thing as reliable as Dow is England’s improved set-piece and they continued to build the score as Lark Davies went over in a maul and Leanne Infante dove across the tryline from the base of a ruck.

Red Roses finish with a flourish

Although the win is a source of celebration for England fans, it could be a cause for concern for those who want to see all of women’s rugby thrive.

This autumn, England have beaten world number two side New Zealand, third-ranked Canada and now the United States, who are sixth, and the Red Roses’ lowest winning margin was 31 points.

But World Rugby are making efforts to close the gulf in quality in the women’s game, launching the WXV tournament, and England head coach Simon Middleton insists other sides will catch up before next year’s World Cup.

For now, the Red Roses can bask in the glow of a glorious autumn finished in a flourish of exciting attack.

Helena Rowland found form in the second half and her break down the left wing led to Lagi Tuima’s try after just 42 seconds of play.

Zoe Aldcroft nipped through a gap for an opportunistic score and England continued to keep the crowd on their toes with daring offloads.

Rowland went over herself after scooping up a loose ball and front row replacements Sarah Bern and Hannah Botterman blew more holes in the United States’ defence, creating space for Heather Cowell to score.

Bern scored too, Davies and Thompson claimed a second each and Connie Powell capped her debut with a try.

Holly Aitchison made sure she got her name on the scoresheet, becoming the 12th try scorer of the day, before Bern grabbed another with the clock in red to round off England’s biggest win of the autumn.

Line-ups

England: Dow; Thompson, Aitchison, Tuima, Cowell; Rowland, Infante; Cornborough, Davies, Muir, Millar-Mills, Aldcroft (capt), Matthews, Kabeya, Beckett.

Replacements: Powell, Botterman, Bern, Burnfield, Hunter, Packer, Harrison, Kildunne.

United States: Hawkins; Detiveaux, Bonte, Howard, Canett; Foster, Waters; Rogers, Hamdan, Jacoby, Taufoou, Washington, Ehrecke, Zackary (capt), Sommer.

Replacements: Treder, Learned, James, Kronish, Cairns, Ortiz, Fa’avesi, Levy.

Referee: Julianne Zussman (Canada)

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