The women’s six nations championship kicked off on Sunday and the opening weekend saw plenty of surprises. England lost to Ireland in a nail biting tie, while other favourites such as France were beaten by Scotland. So how did they get here? Let’s take a look at what went down during round one.
The “england six nations 2022 fixtures” is a problem that has been present for a while. England and Ireland can only focus on themselves because they cannot focus on the other teams.
In 29 matches, Ireland has only defeated England twice.
|Leicester’s Welford Road is the location for this event. Date: Sunday, April 24th Kick-off is at 12:00 a.m. BST.|
|Coverage: Live written commentary on the Sport website and app; watch on Two; listen on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.|
It’s a tired cliché, but circumstances dictate that England and Ireland can only concentrate on themselves when they meet in the Women’s Six Nations on Sunday.
The outcome is undeniable. If England’s present domination of the international game wasn’t enough to ensure success at Welford Road, Ireland’s absence of many important players would definitely assist.
In addition to the Irish absences (players are practicing with the sevens side), England head coach Simon Middleton has decided to deploy his best team in the fourth round.
It all boils down to professionalism once again. The Red Roses are a completely professional team with distinct XV-a-side and sevens programs, with money that has allowed them to win three Six Nations championships in a row and 21 of their last 22 matches.
Ireland, which got an apology from their union before to the event for its shortcomings in the women’s game, is paid per day, with emphasis shifting between the two versions.
It means that viewers in Leicester will almost certainly be treated to a perfect storm.
Both sides will be turning inwards in front of a record audience of almost 15,000 people.
Before a possible showdown against France in the last round, England must choose their best XV, while Ireland has the opportunity to mold their future stars.
Players who are ‘waiting in the wings’ for a chance to start
With England unlikely to be troubled by the scoreline, the pressure will come from inside.
Captain Sarah Hunter believes the team has the most depth she has ever seen in her 15 years as a Red Rose player.
Both for the Six Nations final and the World Cup in October, the competition for starting spots is fierce.
If anybody falters against Ireland, head coach Simon Middleton believes “there are guys waiting in the wings” to replace them against France.
“These guys have to perform well,” he emphasized for anybody who was still skeptical.
As she gets her 100th cap in her hometown, star centre Emily Scarratt is sure to rise to the occasion.
Middleton’s full-back experiments continue, with centre and fly-half Helena Rowland the latest to wear the 15 jersey after Abby Dow fractured her leg against Wales.
Poppy Cleall, a versatile forward, is on the bench while global player of the year Zoe Aldcroft returns from injury at lock, and Middleton believes flanker Alex Matthews “has evolved into a player you can’t leave out of the team.”
‘It’s a tremendous pity’ that Ireland isn’t represented.
While England has a plenty of players to pick from, Ireland does not.
The visitors are missing five starters from their backline, with a total of seven players training for a sevens tournament in Canada.
Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, and Beibhinn Parsons, together with Anna McGann and Brittany Hogan, have all left a big vacuum on the backline.
To make things worse, Ireland’s top player of the competition so far, lock Sam Monaghan, has a calf injury, while back row Aoife Wafer is also out.
Former captain Ciara Griffin thinks Ireland can only concentrate on “mini-wins” at important areas like the breakdown and set-piece. Middleton says it’s “a real tragedy” to see Ireland so depleted.
Due to the absences, full-back Molly Scuffil-McCabe will get her first cap, while Niamh Byrne will get her maiden cap off the bench.
“This is a great opportunity for players who are yearning for the chance to display their skills on the largest stage,” says head coach Greg McWilliams, who chooses to see the bright side of the situation.
England is expected to ‘put on a display.’
Although there isn’t much of a competitive edge, the audience is guaranteed to be treated to a lot of attempts.
England has scored more than ten goals each game thus far in the competition, surrendering just two.
The Red Roses have been especially destructive in the last 20 minutes, scoring more than 50 points in each of their three games.
Before turning his attention back inside, head coach Middleton paid tribute to the opponent, stating, “They’ll be ultra-competitive.”
“At the end of the day, it’s simply about keeping our eyes on ourselves,” he continued.
“It is our obligation to perform to the best of our abilities and to ensure that we put on a show in front of a wonderful audience.”
Rowland, Thompson, Scarratt, Aitchison, Breach; Harrison, Infante; Cornborough, Davies, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, Packer, Hunter; Cornborough, Davies, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, Packer, Hunter; Cornborough, Davies, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, Packer, Hunter; Cornborough, Davies, Bern, Aldcroft (capt).
Cokayne, Botterman, Muir, Galligan, Cleall, Hunt, Reed, and Kildunne are the replacements.
Scuffil-McCabe; Doyle, Naoupu, Breen, Considine; Cronin, Dane; Djougang, Jones, Haney; Fryday (captain), McDermott; Wall, McMahon, O’Connor. Ireland: Scuffil-McCabe; Doyle, Naoupu, Breen, Considine; Cronin, Dane; Djougang, Jones, Haney; Fryday (captain
Hooban, Pearse, O’Dwyer, Moore, Og O’Leary, Reilly, Claffey, and Byrne are the replacements.
The Women’s Six Nations kicked off on Saturday, but England and Ireland can only focus on themselves. The two teams are the top seeds in their respective pools and will be expected to win all of their matches. Reference: six nations fixtures 2021.
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