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Women’s Six Nations: Talking points as England and France keep grand slam hopes alive

The Red Roses remain top of the table but only on points difference as France make it three wins from three

Sarah Rendell
Tuesday 12 April 2022 14:12 BST
England full-back Abby Dow (right) was badly injured during Saturday’s match against Wales at Kingsholm
England full-back Abby Dow (right) was badly injured during Saturday’s match against Wales at Kingsholm (Getty)

England and France kept their grand slam hopes alive in the Women’s Six Nations as both secured bonus-point wins in round three of the tournament.

The Red Roses are the defending champions and defeated Wales 58-5 in front of a 14,689-strong crowd at Kingsholm – a record attendance for a home England fixture. A stunning 10-try display against an improved Welsh side delivered them their 21st consecutive victory and managed to keep them on top of the table.

The all-important bonus-point meant France had to also bag five points in their away match to Scotland in order to continue to go toe to toe with England. The Scots frustrated France but they still managed to get the bonus-point try ahead of half-time. They headed into the break 28-3 up after some glorious moments from scrum-half Laure Sansus.

The hosts were stronger in the second half and kept France scoreless before dotting down their only try of the encounter to finish up 28-8 in Scotstoun.

Ireland hosted Italy for the final match of the round and both sides were seeking their first win of the tournament. And it was Greg McWilliams’s team who secured the victory in a brilliant 29-8 performance.

But what were the talking points of the weekend? Here’s one from each of the fixtures.

Abby Dow horror injury

Dow was taken to hospital after breaking her leg (Getty)

England’s versatile back Abby Dow was back in the fold, named at full-back, for their fixture against Wales after missing out in their match against Italy.

She was impressive as ever and looked dangerous running down the left hand side in pursuit of England’s first try. It was then chilling for fans and all watching on to hear her screams after being tackled by two Welsh players. There was a lengthy break in play as she received medical treatment. The Wasps star was stretchered off the pitch and taken to hospital.

The Rugby Football Union has since confirmed she has broken her leg. It will be heartbreaking for the back as she will now miss out on Wasps’ run-in for the Premier 15s top four and potentially the World Cup.

There is some hope for the fast-paced player to still feature in New Zealand, though. Emily Scarratt broke her leg in September and she is now back playing for England. The World Cup is six months away and so there is some potential Dow could be back in time.

But, sadly, England will be without her for the rest of the tournament.

France’s defence is ferocious

Madoussou Fall was impressive for France (Getty)

The second half of Scotland vs France would have had many fans screaming at their TV as multiple Scotland opportunies went to waste. The frustration from the home side was evident but there was nothing they could do as France’s defence was like an iron wall.

Time after time they continued to hold firm and didn’t seem to tire over the 80 minutes. The Scots may have thought they could get some leeway when the subsitutions were made but the replacements were just as strong as the starters.

A particular star who impressed in the defensive line was Madoussou Fall.

It meant France kept their impressive lead and also their title hopes afloat. Their defence could be the key to England’s undoing. If they manage to stop the Red Roses from clocking up the points and land a few blows of their own they could take the title from their rivals. The two teams will face off in round five on 30 April.

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe robbed of try

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe had an electric game against Italy and she almost had a perfect outing as she finished off a brilliant team try for Ireland.

She gathered the ball, wrestled her way out of a tackle by Italy captain Manuela Furlan and dotted down.

However, referee Aurelie Groizeleau called no try as she believed Murphy Crowe was held in the tackle which would meant she wasn’t allowed to move again to score the try. It was referred to the television match official Eric Gauzins who seemed to disagree with Groizeleau but he allowed the official to make the final call.

She stuck with her onfield decision and chalked off the score. Social media erupted in disagreement with some blasting the officiating as “poor”, “disgraceful” and that the decision “made no sense”. In the end the score didn’t make a difference to the outcome but it was extemely frustrating for the Ireland team.

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