England's women triumphant

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England's women duly followed the men to the top of the Home Nations' Championship, completing the double over Ireland at London Irish yesterday.

Led by the powerhouse Gill Burns, they completed their season unbeaten, conceding only 19 points in the inaugural championship. Scotland provided the toughest test for the world champions, losing just 12-8.

Against Ireland, three tries in the first 19 minutes ensured that England stretched their unbeaten run through its fifth year. Scores for prop Jane Gregory, the centre Andrea Wallace and the wing Jayne Molyneux put Ireland immediately on the back foot.

Wallace's centre partner, Julie Twigg, continually punched holes in the Irish defence, but saved her best for the 45th minute, making the try of the game for Molyneux.

Breaking from her own 22, she used her speed to clear the first wave of Irish defenders and, after finding full-back Paula George on half-way, the ball was slipped to Molyneux for her second of the day. Further tries from Burns, Jacqui Edwards and the outstanding outside-half, Giselle Prangnell, completed their day.

A high penalty count and a distinct lack of concentration allowed the Irish their first Home Nations score near the end. London Irish, an apt venue on St Patrick's Day, erupted when Blackrock College's Deirdre Fitzgerald dived over in the corner.

The Irish, driven on by scrum-half Raeltine Shrieves put their first points on the board in the 68th minute with a penalty, but they were 38- 0 adrift by then.

ENGLAND: George (Wasps); Edwards (Blackheath), Twigg (Liverpool St Helens), Wallace (Leeds), Molyneux (Waterloo); Prangnell (Wasps), Applebey (Novocastrians); Mangham (Edinburgh Academics), Ponsford (Clifton), Gregory (Wasps), Jew (Leeds), Henderson (Clifton), Ross (Saracens), Jenn (Richmond), Burns (Waterloo, capt).

IRELAND: Rodgers (Blackrock College); Fitzgerald (Blackrock College), Kerrin (Nottingham Casuals), Steed (Newcastle Novocastrians), Byrne (Blackrock College); Moore (Blackrock College), Shrieves (Wasps); Nash (Wasps), Richey (West of Scotland), Parsons (Wasps), Hennessy (Blackheath), Kennedy (Old Leamingtonians), Whiteside (Haworth Park), McDonnell (Blackrock College), Nixon (Wasps). Replacements: Cosgrove (Sligo) for Parsons (34). Myles (Wimbledon) for Whiteside, 70.

Referee: A Spreadbury (RFU).