Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

England start with a bang

Emily Scarratt scored a try and kicked 15 points for England
Emily Scarratt scored a try and kicked 15 points for England

England kicked off their 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup campaign with a comprehensive 10-try 65-3 win over Samoa at Marcoussis.

Two tries each for Kat Merchant, Lydia Thompson, Natasha Hunt and Kay Wilson and one apiece for La Toya Mason and Emily Scarratt set England on the way to victory, with Scarratt also kicking 15 points.

After 10 cagey opening minutes, the game turned when Samoa fullback Soteria Pulumu was red carded after a nasty looking tip-tackle on England number nine Hunt. Scarratt scored the resulting penalty for England's first points of the World Cup.

England's first try came from the pacey Merchant, who showed some quick feet before diving over the line, and she soon had her second - her 43rd for England - when going over in the 24th minute for 15-0 after Scarratt's conversion.

Thompson showed great pace for England's third, racing in from at least 60 metres, and Scarratt added the extras to make it 22-0.

Worcester wing Thompson had her second try after 35 minutes, and England had their fifth try on the whistle - Hunt spotting a gap and backing her own pace to score to make it 34-0.

Samoa gave as good as they got in the opening exchanges of the second half, but a piece of magic from Hunt, who spotted a gap, broke the deadlock before replacement Wilson scored minutes later to make it 46-0.

Replacement scrum half Mason spotted gap on the try line for England's eighth before Maggie Alphonsi found Scarratt who raced in for her first try.

At 60-0 up, Samoa got their first points on the board with a penalty from Bella Milo but Wilson added her second at the death to bring the scoring to a close and to give England their first win.

Number eight Sarah Hunter said: "We've been itching to get out onto the pitch and we're pleased to get the campaign under way with a good performance - we wanted to play with width and tempo and we definitely did that at times.

"Samoa put the pressure on us, they were big and physical and played with real heart, but we'll review the game and look to improve before we play Spain."

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