Women’s Six Nations preview: England aim to continue winning streak
This is the English world of women’s rugby.
On a run of truly historic form that includes more and more trophies and plenty of wins, the Red Roses look to be at the forefront of what would be their 17th Women’s Six Nations title. Now, halfway through this year’s competition, realistically only one enemy might be there to stop him.
That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of drama left to settle in this year’s Women’s Six Nations. A Grand Slam is still in play for two teams, as are prize money and centuries-old rivalries. Things will only heat up from here.
We’ve got you covered for scenarios and matches to watch right here on FloRugby.
Wales v. France
Wales vs France 2022 – Women
Any hope of Wales posing a serious challenge to the current duopoly atop the Women’s Six Nations table was likely dashed when England were pummeled in a 10-Try, 58-5 rout in the third round, ending to a promising start of two wins by the Welsh.
However, they could find themselves posing a sneaky threat to the French this weekend. Paired with England as heavy favorites to win the Six Nations title, world No. 3 France comfortably beat Scotland (28-8) last week but were outclassed and shut out by the Scots in second period.
Wales needed a second-half boost to beat Scotland in the second round, but perhaps seeing a rival stand up to the mighty French will inspire the Welsh to do the same. Still, France have a top-flight squad made up of some of the most prestigious players in women’s rugby. Scrum half Laure Sansus currently leads the competition in tries (four) and points (20). Unsurprisingly, France’s second-half struggles against Scotland went without Sansus on the pitch as she was substituted at half-time.
Italy vs. Scotland
2022 Italy vs Scotland – Women
The challenge of this match is simple: the winner probably avoids the dubious wooden spoon, “awarded” to the last arrival at the end of each Six Nations tournament. At present, all signs point to this being Italy for the fourth time since entering the competition in 2007 and the first time since 2017.
The Italians got off to a brutal start to the tournament, losing to England and France in back-to-back matchweeks by a combined score of 113-6, but looked calmer in a 29-8 loss to Ireland in the third round as they scored their first try of the tournament through Melissa Bettoni in the 71st minute. Still, Italy has by far the worst record in the table.
Things didn’t go much better for Scotland as they also started 0-0-3, having already come through the France-England gauntlet. However, what will likely separate the Scots from the Italians is the fact that they have been competitive in matches and up to several opponents – France’s second half and almost the entire match against the Country of Wales.
What’s more, scrum-half Jenny Maxwell has been a driving force in Scotland’s attack throughout the competition, currently leading the Women’s Six Nations with 232 passes, more than 100 more than the nearest competitor, the ‘Irish Kathryn Dane. Perhaps the subject of a bit of bad luck so far, Scotland will be looking for plenty of points and distancing themselves from the bottom to start the final two games of the competition.
England vs. Ireland
2022 England vs Ireland – Women
Dominant. Tirelessly. Irresistible. The descriptors to describe England’s meteoric start to this year’s women’s Six Nations competition are endless. By far the world No.1, England lived up to their bill in three rounds, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 189-10 and 31 tries to two for the opponents.
So the Red Roses’ aim in their clash with Ireland at the weekend is to win comfortably and give their stars plenty of rest ahead of a massive Round 5 game against France.
Nonetheless, the Irish defense is no slouch, with coach Greg McWilliams’ backline holding their opponents in three games for a total of 75 points, the highest mark outside England and France. But Ireland haven’t beaten England in a Women’s Six Nations since 2015, and with the Red Roses looking to clinch a fourth consecutive title and fifth in six years, the momentum and history are clearly in the mix. side of coach Simon Middleton.
An incredible number of seven England players have scored multiple tries despite playing just three matches and are often subject to minute restrictions as their matches usually cease to be competitions early. Ireland hanging around much longer than half-time (or less) would be a surprise, especially as they will be missing several players due to their appearance in this month’s World Rugby Sevens Series. But with England amid a 21-game winning streak in all competitions, no one else in the world can help it.