Well thank you for joining me for this match! England weren’t on firing form but they still managed to run in eight tries to keep their grand slam hopes alive heading into next week. Ireland fronted up and gave England a headache, a big step forward in their form from this tournament. If you want to recap the action have a read of the report below. Have a great rest of your weekend!
Scotland and Italy are going head-to-head this afternoon with kick-off at 4.45pm! The match will be on BBC iPlayer shortly.
Twickenham next week is going to be a huge match! Over 50,000 tickets have been sold and it could be a title decider if France beat Wales tomorrow!
England head coach Simon Middleton told the BBC: “Both of them picked up injuries early on and we we were in a good position at that point. We have just got to assess them and see where they are at. It is going to be a great occasion at Twickenham and I am fortunate I get to experience another great game. It will only be great if we get the performance we want. We have quite a lot of work to do this week in terms of fixing people but we will be ready.”
The last try of the game from Matthews:
England’s Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt told the BBC: “To be honest it was a bit bittersweet, I am frustrated with how we went about it. But I am proud to be out there with my girls. I’m buzzing to be back in the shirt. Pulling on the rose, there is no other feeling like it. The breakdown was an absolute mess for us today, it made my job really difficult today.”
Amber Reed came on and had a real impact. She will enjoy her try after a bumpy campaign following her injury against Scotland in round one.
Another worrying point for England to take from this match, apart from all the unforced errors, will be the two injuries. Hannah Botterman and captain Marlie Packer went off in the first half and they will want them back against France next week.
Full-time! Ireland 0-48 England
No new record scoreline which everyone involved will be happy to see. Ireland much better in defence and their scrum functioned really well. Their line-out is something that needs to be improved and more clinicism in attack but they will be happy to prove people wrong today. England did not play their best rugby this afternoon, it has been one of the worst England performances I’ve seen in a while. But they still have a bonus-point win and head into the final round at Twickenham with the Grand Slam on the cards.
CONVERTED TRY! Ireland 0-48 England (Matthews, 83')
Okay I can’t do maths so England won’t get into 50 points but they are over through Matthews! Rowland with the extras.
82 min: England have one last shot to score with a penalty, they opt for a scrum. Will they get into the 50 points?
79 min: Ireland’s restart is out on the full and England have possession again. McGrath is on for Ireland.
CONVERTED TRY! Ireland 0-41 England (Matthews, 78')
It’s a slick try and Matthews is over after a good line-out. There is a lack of celebration though.
77 min: Beckett has been named Player of the Match, she has been great over the gainline and has scored a try. Ireland have a scrum, a set piece which has worked well for the hosts today, but this time England win the penalty. They marched Ireland back five metres.
76 min: The Irish line-out is good and they use the maul to try and get out of the 22. Hughes runs half the pitch to electrify the crowd here but some loose passes halts the attack. England turn it over at the breakdown but Ireland win a penalty as the visitors knock on. Handling errors are crazy high from England.
75 min: Reed wins a breakdown penalty and Ireland’s attack is stopped again. The visitors are now looking to score and the ball comes to Dow but Delany tackles her into touch. Delany has played really well today.
73 min: Ireland have done so well to halt England until Reed’s try but they couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities they have had. The hosts are in possession now though.
CONVERTED TRY! Ireland 0-34 England (Reed, 71')
Finally we have a try! They recycle the ball and Reed crashes over. Rowland gets the conversion.
71 min: The England line-out is wobbly again but they manage to collect it. Bern makes some metres, as she always does, and the visitors pop it through the hands.
70 min: I think this has been the worst game of the tournament so far, just so scrappy from both sides. England win a scrum penalty.
NO TRY! Ireland 0-27 England
They get it through the hands and Kildunne though she was in but it is a forward pass from Bern. Thought we had a score but this scrappy game strikes again.
69 min: Kabeya knocks on on the floor, yet another error from the visitors. O’Connor and Deely are on for Ireland ahead of the scrum for Ireland. Huge scrum from England but Ireland come away with it, they kick away and Dow collects – she wins a breakdown penalty. Rowland kicks to the corner and England look to score in this half. Huge resilience from Ireland so far, proving the naysayers wrong.
67 min: Ireland have the scrum but England come away with it. They put it through the hands but MacDonald can’t collect, O’Brien kicks away but England catch and are on the attack.
65 min: Aitchison kicks it and Hunt knocks on, again a handling error from England. Nielson and Hughes are on for Ireland.
65 min: Ireland come away with it and choose to kick it away and concede a penalty. Rowland kicks away, will there be a score in this second half?
64 min: We come back to the Dow knock on as Ireland go loose, this performance form both sides haven’t been perfect but Ireland will be happy with this scoreline. Many said it would be 100 points to England.
63 min: Ireland win another penalty as they cross at the line-out, that is England 11th penalty of the match. The hosts have another line-out and it’s loose, Bern picks up and England look to run out of their own half. But Dow doesn’t collect and Ireland have it!
61 min: Davies and Bern are on for England and Nic a Bháird is staying on.
61 min: The line-out works for Ireland this time and they immediately win an advantage, Ireland searching for their first points. We come back for the advantage, so many stop starts. Time is off as Nic a Bháird receives treatment
60 min: O’Brien kicks upfield and Dow collects well. England are on the hunt again but Muir knocks on. This is painful from England, so many errors.
58 min: Phase after phase comes and Aitchison pops it over the top in a kick but Kildunne can’t catch. The errors from England are palpable, if they play like this next week France could have the title.
57 min: Reed is the England captain with M Packer injured and Aldcroft off. The line-out from England is long but they do come away with it. No maul but England are popping it through the hands.
56 min: England’s attack may not be functioning this half but their defence continues to be impressive, they are pushing Ireland backwards. Ireland kick away and Kildunne collects but the whistle blows as Ireland were offside. Aitchison kicks to the corner, the driving maul to come. There is a change for Ireland as Moore is off for Brown.
55 min: England win the scrum penalty and the celebrations from the players show how much they have been pressured by Ireland at the set piece. Aitchison kicks away but the line-out doesn’t function, Ireland steal it!
54 min: O’Brien’s kick to the corner goes too far and we come back to an England scrum. England make some changes with Burns, Reed and Rowland on.
53 min: The line-out is stolen by England and Ireland’s best chance to score is squandered. Ireland win a penalty though as England are offside, Simon Middleton’s side don’t seem to be clicking today.
52 min: Ireland try a chip through but England collect so we come back to the earlier advantage. O’Brien kicks to the corner, they will want the maul to drive them over.
51 min: Jones’ line-out works with a short throw again and the driving maul is in action! England are doing enough to stop it and Ireland are forced to go through the hands. Ireland have the advantage now, will they find their first try of the game?
50 min: Talling loses the ball on the floor and Doyle kicks it through! She almost pounces but England collect on the floor but Ireland win the breakdown penalty! This is not going the way many judged it, including me, before kick-off.
49 min: Ireland have another line-out, a real test for a set piece that is wobbly. This time it is good, a short throw working well. The visitors are on the attack but England are doing well to repel them. Ireland eventually kick it away and Kildunne collects and runs into traffic.
47 min: Ireland have a line-out and the throw is good but it is stolen at the back by England. The Red Roses are shipping it through the hands and Kildunne makes some great metres. England continue to chip away but Ireland win the breakdown penalty. The visitors are so sloppy today.
46 min: Aitchison kicks to the corner and England’s line-out is good, they are on the hunt for try number six. MacDonald tries to offload but it is intercepted by Ireland! England wrestle it back at the breakdown and MacDonald kicks away but it is out on the full. We come back for an Irish scrum.
45 min: Nic a Bháird offloads and it comes to Monaghan who kicks through, the Irish just couldn’t penetrate the English defence. Possession exchanges hands but it is Ireland who decides to run it. O’Brien kicks it through but Aitchison collects and kicks away again. England get the penalty with Ireland offside. Promising from Ireland but no points to show for it.
43 min: Delany collects and she kicks, Aitchison can’t catch but she dots down for another goal-line drop out. Monaghan collects and decides to run it, they are on the hunt here.
42 min: Kildunne attempts to catch a high ball but she knocks on and Ireland collect. They run it through the hands and eventually kick away. Kildunne dots down and there is a goal-line drop out.
Back underway! Ireland 0-27 England
So will England run away with this? It doesn’t feel as though this game will go to a record scoreline, Ireland doing just enough as the moment to stem the flow. Brian O’Driscoll is in the stands!
Some stats from this one so far:
Heard has been great for England this tournament and she has continued her good form today. Here is her try:
Half-time: Ireland 0-27 England
It has been all England so far but they have been far from perfect. Tuima has missed some kicks and handling errors has been their weakness again. But Ireland have not been clinical when they have had chances and their defence hasn’t been solid. England have scored five.
39 min: Delany has another good spell with an chipped kick, Hunt collects but she tackles her well. Aitchison kicks away and the kicking game is back in play. England kick it out with Kildunne the kicker, Ireland line-out to come.
CONVERTED TRY! Ireland 0-27 England (Talling, 36')
The driving maul is instantly into action again and Talling is over! Tuima is still the kicker and gets the extras!
36 min: M Packer is also off with an ankle injury, Talling is on. Monaghan is okay to continue.
36 min: The driving maul comes from England but Ireland bring it down illegally and give away a penalty. Monaghan is down injured now, not a good sight at all, time off.
35 min: England win a breakdown penalty and Aitchison kicks to the corner. This game is so stop start, both teams giving away cheap penalties. Irwin is going off for a HIA with McGann on.
35 min: M Packer has been given a warning after that neck roll, it is the third penalty given away by the captain. England win it back from the line-out but Powell gives away a breakdown penalty. O’Brien kicks away but doesn’t find touch.
33 min: The player has stayed on for Ireland and England’s line-out is clean. They are using the driving maul and they keep on marching. Hogan breaks it up though and does well to halt the set piece. England running it wide now but there is a neck roll by M Packer and Ireland can clear pressure again.
32 min: The kicking game comes into play and England win with Ireland taking it back into their own 22. There’s a break in play as an Irish player is down injured, it’s not clear who is down yet.
32 min: The line-out is good! The driving maul is marching but England’s defence is strong. They are forced to run it, this is their best attack so far! But England rip it at the breakdown and Aitchison lofts it away.
31 min: Ireland come away with the ball at the scrum and the crowd comes to life as Delany makes some great metres. They then win the breakdown penalty, some great minutes for the hosts. O’Brien kicks to the corner, the line-out needs to work here now.
29 min: Botterman is off and looks in real pain, hopefully the injury isn’t too bad. Carson is on for her.
29 min: England knock on from M Packer and time is off as Botterman is down injured, so sad as she has just returned from injury. Ireland have also made a change with Djougang and Buggy is on.
29 min: Tuima missing these kicks has made the scoreline healthier too, with the kicks England would be 28-0 up. Dow collects a chip over the top and are on the attack again.
TRY! Ireland 0-20 England (M Packer, 27')
There is the bonus-point! M Packer blasts through the defence and the captain is in. Tuima has missed again, right in front of the posts, maybe they will change the kicker for the next one.
26 min: Ireland come away with it from the scrum and they pass to O’Brien who kicks away. Powell throws in at the line-out and England are hunting for a try again.
25 min: There is a goal-line drop out with England’s kick just staying in. O’Brien kicks and Heard collects but she knocks on. Ireland scrum.
23 min: Ireland just need to be more clinical on the basics, they are doing everything else really well.
TRY! Ireland 0-15 England (Kildunne, 21')
England opt for the line-out and they are straight into attack, Heard hauled down just metres short. MacDonald offloads to Kildunne and she is over. Tuima misses the kick again.
21 min: Djougang is okay to continue as O’Brien kicks away. The Irish line-out is in motion again, it’s the set piece that is their weakest and again the throw isn’t straight.
20 min: England just got into the 22 and there was some obstruction! Ireland can relieve the pressure, they will have the chance to kick away. Djougang is having some treatment before the kick.
19 min: England have restarted well, winning an advantage which we come back for after England kick away. Aitchison kicks to the corner, this time finding touch. England’s line-out functions well and they win an advantage through the driving maul. They are on the hunt for their third here.
TRY! Ireland 0-10 England (Heard, 16')
Heard looks to be over but the referee is having a word with the TMO, there are not any checks though. Tuima’s kick is way wide.
16 min: England come away with it from the scrum and Tuima goes into the breakdown, winning the penalty. Aitchison kicks to the corner but she doesn’t find touch. Ireland kick to clear their lines and Kildunne collects and gets England on the attack again.
14 min: This time the Ireland line-out is good and they are on the attack. This is good play from Ireland after conceding early on. England do win a penalty though and there is yet another scrum.
13 min: Ireland opt for a scrum and it is a solid scrum from both teams, the hosts do come away with it. They run it through the hands but then choose to kick it, England collect. They are searching for their second try but a loose pass from MacDonald goes into touch.
11 min: England’s kryptonite is handling errors and they are present again in this match as they knock on. Ireland have the scrum, the referee has warned both front rows to hold their weight as there is a re-set. They go again and England push early, Ireland have the scrum penalty!
9 min: Ireland have the scrum from that penalty and they win the penalty at the scrum, a huge moment there. They relieve pressure but not for long as Jones’ line-out isn’t straight. England have a scrum as the result and this time they come away with it and launch another attack.
7 min: And there is the maul, they are marching forwards but Hogan brings it down legally and Ireland win the penalty! Great work to dismantle England’s famous set piece. Ger Nugent has got in touch and said: “I can’t see England (although they are an incredible team) putting 100 points passed Ireland. Based on absolutely nothing except we’re at home and are a bunch of stubborn so and sos.”
5 min: England are again with the ball and win a penalty, Aitchison kicks to the corner. The driving maul could come into action here.
4 min: This could be a long afternoon for Ireland, that try was too easy. A handling error delayed the try time, otherwise they could have been over shorter.
TRY! Ireland 0-5 England (Beckett, 3')
Hunt goes so close to the line but is hauled down just short. A loose pass sees Kildunne pick it up but the defence is good again. They run it wide and Beckett is over. Tuima’s kick is just short.
2 min: Delany collects a high ball and Ireland are on the attack. But there’s a loose pass and Matthews comes away with it. The ball is going through the hands, MacDonald is almost tackled into touch but manages to keep it on,
Kick-off! Ireland 0-0 England
Ireland captain Nichola Fryday shedding some tears during the anthem, the heart and fight in the team prevalent. We are underway at Musgrave Park!
Reminder of the teams ahead of kick-off:
The crowd are in good voice as the players run out onto the pitch! This huge battle will be kicking off in just over five minutes.
The players will be out at Musgrave Park shortly raring to go in this one. Will the media talk be right with a record defeat? Or will Ireland cause an upset?
So how do you see this one shaking out? Let me know your thoughts via Twitter or email, I’d love to hear from you! If you want to share anything else, how your weekend is going or what snacks you have for the game, send me those too!
A taste of what’s to come this afternoon:
England are top of the table by a point with France on their heels heading into round four. Ireland, meanwhile, are fifth on points difference with them and Scotland yet to score a point on the table.
Some stats ahead of this one for you. England’s starting squad has 485 caps between them compared to Ireland’s 185. The Red Roses have scored 31 tries so far this tournament while Ireland have crossed the line twice. England’s biggest win over Ireland was 79-0 in 2002.
Ireland’s Dorothy Wall, who is ruled out through injury today, responded to the talk of a record score this week. She said: “It’s insulting to what we do every day. It’s insulting to how we have to mentally and physically turn up every week, how hard we work, what we analyse, how painful it is after matches that you lose when you know that you aren’t good enough. There may be some thoughts that we aren’t taking ownership of our performances but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It hurts us as much as it would any team. To even suggest that we wouldn’t play a game against England is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever heard.”
Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams added: “There’s no doubt we want the Six Nations to be competitive. I think everyone does, as it makes better spectacles. England and France are ahead at the moment. Our job as a union is to continue to improve and develop. We are on our journey. There is an old expression that says you must lose sight of the shore to discover new lands. We are always conscious of closing gaps and being competitive. This is another weekend where we will find out a lot about ourselves and reflect and will be smart when we review. The more every team in the Six Nations is competitive, the better the competition is going to be and that is what you want. We want Ireland to be competitive and we are fighting really hard to get to that point.”
England head coach Simon Middleton has been speaking about the gap between nations this week. “It’s all dependent on how the unions get behind it,” Middleton told BBC Sport. “The rate of acceleration and closing the gap will all depend on funding. We have to make these games more competitive. We’ve been in this situation for a long time. We know going back eight years, Ireland were a real force, France, ourselves, and Wales beat an England side in 2015. I’m not sure it can continue in the guise it is now where it’s always going to come down to the last game, England and France, because that’s not good for anybody.”
The talk all week has been surrounding the scoreline at full-time for this fixture. Many are worried England could put 100 points on Ireland which could set back the growth of the game. I’ve written a piece on the possible outcome with the context of the difference between the teams:
The team news is here! Ireland have made three changes to their starting line-up with Vicky Irwin is in at centre and Molly Scuffil-McCabe starts at nine. The only change in the forwards is Brittany Hogan who is in for the injured Dorothy Wall.
Ireland: Delany; Doyle, Dalton, Irwin, Behan; O’Brien, Scuffil-McCabe; Djougang, Jones, Haney, Fryday (C), Monaghan, Hogan, Moore, Nic a Bháird.
Replacements: Nielson, McGrath, Buggy, O’Connor, Brown, Cronin, McGann, Deely
England, meanwhile, have made seven changes to their starting XV. Mo Hunt is in at nine, Claudia MacDonald is back on the wing and Ellie Kildunne starts at 15. There is a new front row with Hannah Botterman, Connie Powell and Maud Muir and Sarah Beckett comes in for the injured Cath O’Donnell.
England: Kildunne; Dow, Tuima, Heard, MacDonald; Aitchison, Hunt; Botterman, Powell, Muir, Aldcroft, Beckett, Kabeya, Packer (C), Matthews.
Replacements: Davies, Carson, Bern, Burns, Talling, Packer, Reed, Rowland.
Hello and welcome to round four of the Women’s Six Nations with Ireland hosting England. There are rumours this could break the tournament record defeat with the Red Roses expected to put a huge score on Ireland. England have secured three bonus-point wins so far while Ireland have not won a match yet.
There has been talk all week about how the tournament needs to grow with the gap between nations still wide. The last time a nation won the title that was not England or France was Ireland in 2015. We will take a look at what head coaches have said on the topic in a short while.
There are some changes in both teams, I’ll bring you the full team news soon, but there are some headlines to point out. Mo Hunt starts for the first time since before the World Cup, she was left out of the tournament to New Zealand. For Ireland they are without Dorothy Wall due to injury.
I will bring you the team news now as it was released earlier this week. So stay tuned ahead of kick-off at 2.15pm BST.