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Women's Rugby World Cup: England score 10 tries in win over Samoa
England launched an impressive opening salvo as they beat Samoa 65-3 to get their Women's Rugby World Cup campaign underway in emphatic style.
Wingers Katherine Merchant and Lydia Thompson and scrum-halves Natasha Hunt and Kay Wilson all bagged braces of tries while Emily Scarratt racked up 20 points in the south of France.
La Toya Mason also graced the scoresheet as Gary Street's women chalked up a bonus-point win to draw level on points with Canada, who beat Spain 31-7 earlier in the day, at the Pool A summit.
England have been beaten by New Zealand in the last three Rugby World Cup finals but signalled their intentions of reversing their fortunes with a 10-try success over a slovenly Samoan side.
Samoa's evening got off to the worst possible start in Marcoussis as Soteria Pulumu was shown a straight red card for a 12th-minute tip-tackle on Hunt, a dangerous move the Lichfield half-back was lucky to survive unscathed.
England centre Scarratt converted the subsequent penalty into three points to get the scoreboard ticking and it was not long until the floodgates opened for the Roses.
Merchant broke free to slide in the first five-pointer of the evening on 18 minutes and the Worcester flyer doubled her tally two minutes later as England took an early 15-0 lead.
Next it was the turn of Worcester team-mate Thompson to take centre stage on the opposite flank as she claimed two tries of her own in the space of seven minutes.
Hunt raced under the posts on the cusp of the break to give England a 34-0 cushion at half time and there was no relent from the 1994 world champions in the second period.
Samoa were again made to pay for their indiscipline following the restart as No 8 Helen Collins was sent to the sin bin and England utilised their numerical advantage to fine effect as Hunt scurried under the posts for her second try of the night.
Replacement Wilson followed her over the whitewash three minutes later before Wasps scrum-half Mason raced home an eighth England score as Samoa started to show signs of weariness.
Scarratt added a gloss to a fine personal performance at French rugby’s headquarters with her first try of the tournament before taking her points tally to 20 as she converted her own score.
England were forced to play out the final seven minutes without flanker Marlie Packer after she was sin-binned and fly-half Bella Milo converted the penalty to register Samoa’s only points of the night.
Despite being reduced to 14 for the closing stages, England still managed to finial with a flourish as Wilson flew over to double her tally and round off what was a pleasing opening display for Street.
England will now face Spain on Tuesday before a crunch clash against Canada next Saturday.
You can see all the action from the Women's Rugby World Cup in France live on Sky Sports