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England sweep Scotland aside in Six Nations despite Amy Cokayne red card
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England sweep Scotland aside in Six Nations despite Amy Cokayne red card

England’s discipline was a concern for the second time in this Women’s Six Nations as they finished against Scotland with 14 players after Amy Cokayne was shown a red card. The hooker, who started her first international game in a year, was sent off in the 53rd minute after being shown a second yellow card. It was England’s second red card in three games after the No 8 Sarah Beckett was sent off early on in their opener against Italy.

Despite being a player down, England extended their winning run against Scotland to 26 games. Scotland have been waiting 25 years to beat England but the Red Roses ensured their streak would not be broken. John Mitchell’s side are enjoying a perfect tournament in terms of results, topping the table with the maximum 15 points.

Scotland were hampered by England’s defence but at times they were the architects of their own downfall. They had attacking chances in the first half but their faltering lineout ended many of them prematurely. The hooker Lana Skeldon, who returned after missing the second round through injury, did not throw straight in the first lineout and the hosts lost a further five in the first 40. The set piece improved in the second half but Scotland ended the game with more lineouts lost than won.

England were scrappy early on, partly thanks to the windy and rainy conditions. Their driving maul, usually ever-dependable, did not go to plan and Scotland brought it down legally but Cokayne was fed the ball and she beat a defender to score.

Marlie Packer scores England’s eighth and final try.View image in fullscreen

The try seemed to click the Red Roses together and what followed was a delightful team try. Almost every single player touched the ball before Sadia Kabeya ran a good line to offload to Abby Dow who dotted down. It demonstrated England’s expansive attack that has been deployed in this tournament.

England had a try ruled out because of a knock-on in the buildup and the announcement to the stadium spurred the record crowd into a rendition of Flower of Scotland. The Red Roses’ Maud Muir thought she had silenced the fans as she crashed over but a tip tackle from Cokayne on the Scotland No 8 Evie Gallagher not only ruled the try out but ensured the hooker was sent to the sin bin.

Scotland could not capitalise on being a player up and it was England who scored through the tournament’s top try-scorer, Ellie Kildunne, as the visitors headed into the break 17-0 up.

Kabeya sniped off the back of a driving maul to score the bonus-point try. Scotland had some possession after England coughed up a few penalties but they could not make a dent on the scoreboard and the visitors made them pay with Dow offloading a peach of a pass for Jess Breach to score.

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But England’s discipline let them down once again. Cokayne ripped the ball from Skeldon but in the process her shoulder made contact with her opposite number’s head. She was shown a yellow card and, as it was the second time she was sent to the sin bin, she was given a red card. England were again the next to score though through Breach.

Kildunne, the player of the match, added once more to her try tally and Marlie Packer, who was dropped to the bench for the match, scored their eighth and last of the game. The prospect of a Scottish upset was something that their full-back Chloe Rollie had said would be “silly” not to consider a possibility. But while Bryan Easson’s side are improving, it is clear they have a way to go to topple England.

Source: theguardian.com