England Women 41-26 France Women: Red Roses make it two wins from two
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 11/02/19 6:21am
England Women made it two wins from two in this year's Six Nations courtesy of a comprehensive 41-26 victory over reigning Grand Slam champions France in Doncaster.
Simon Middleton's side enjoyed a marvellous first 40 minutes, scoring four tries through Jess Breach, Poppy Cleall, Kelly Smith and Breach again - the latter two of which came with Vickii Cornborough in the sin-bin.
Such a performance in the opening period wrapped up a bonus-point by the break, with further scores coming in the second half through Cleall, Hannah Botterman and Catherine O'Donnell.
Safi N'Diaye, Pauline Bourdon (twice) and Romane Menager scored in reply for France during the second period to earn a bonus-point, but it was far too little.
England Women next travel to face Wales Women in a fortnight's time, while France Women host Scotland.
In a contest which was widely billed as a title decider following impressive wins for both sides in the opening round of fixtures, England raced into a 24-0 lead at half-time and survived a brief French rally to run out comfortable winners.
The home side thought they had opened the scoring in the fifth minute when full-back Sarah McKenna breezed past two opponents to touch down under the posts, but following an intervention from the TMO the try was ruled out after Poppy Leitch was penalised for blocking Menager in the scrum.
It did not take for long for England to break the deadlock however, Breach touching down in the 11th minute after collecting a pinpoint cross-field kick from fly-half Katy Daley-Mclean, whose conversion made her the first English woman to pass the landmark of 500 international points.
Cleall then crashed over from close range after winger Kelly Smith had been stopped just short of the line and England increased their lead through Breach's second score despite Cornborough being shown a yellow card for a high tackle.
A frantic start to the second half saw three tries scored in the space of seven, with N'Diaye and the influential Bourdon scoring for France and Cleall grabbing her second try for the Red Roses.
But tries from substitute Botterman and O'Donnell effectively put the result beyond doubt and late scores from Bourdon and Menager were little consolation for the well-beaten visitors.