England clinch a hat-trick of Six Nations Grand Slams with 29th straight win

Planet Rugby
The England team lift the trophy after winning the Six Nations

The England team lift the trophy after winning the Six Nations.

England completed a hat-trick of Women’s Six Nations Grand Slams as they hammered France 42-21 to claim what is also their sixth straight title.

John Mitchell’s charges faced the unbeaten French side in the final round of the tournament but put on a show, scoring six tries in front of a full house of 28,000 fans in Bordeaux.

Maud Muir, Alex Matthews, Megan Jones, Marlie Packer and Amy Cokayne all grabbed first-half scores for the Red Roses, with Matthews scoring a second in the last 40 minutes.

Gabrielle Vernier and Marine Menager (2) both scored for the hosts, who were unable to cope with England’s pressure following a red card to Assia Khalfaoui.

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The Red Roses led from the moment prop Muir charged over in the fourth minute and they went on to score six tries.

France suffered the setback of losing Khalfaoui to a yellow card for a dangerous clear-out of Morwenna Talling, with the offence upgraded to red on review.

It meant they had to complete the last 37 minutes of the Stade Chaban-Delmas showdown with only 14 players, yet they still played their best rugby in a second half that finished 7-7.

England have now won the Grand Slam for the last three years and their winning run in the tournament stands at 29 games, with their last defeat coming against France in 2018.

As expected, France provided the toughest test of the Six Nations, forcing the Red Roses to grind it out at times, having blazed their way through the competition until this point.

England had to work far harder for their tries than in the previous four rounds – they ran in 14 against Ireland alone – but there were also flashes of the attacking enterprise introduced by head coach Mitchell.

England captain Packer praised her side for facing down a hostile home crowd at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

“I’m super proud of the girls, not just for today but the seven or eight weeks leading up to it,” Packer told BBC One.

“We’ve been building as a group on and off the pitch and we’re well into the John Mitchell era in how we want to play. We want to keep growing as a group.

“We’ve just won a Grand Slam in Bordeaux in an amazing atmosphere. It’s been quite hostile – it’s a French crowd – but we know we can turn it up when we need to.

“We’ve got smiles on our faces but we’re not celebrating like we’ve just won a Grand Slam, that shows the toll of the last seven weeks. Lifting the trophy will mean everything.”

Ireland edge past Scotland

Ireland finished third in the Women’s Six Nations after they twice came from behind to narrowly beat Scotland 15-12 and secure their qualification for the 2025 World Cup.

Scotland hit the front with the only try of the first half when Elis Martin crossed the whitewash to give them a 5-0 lead at the interval.

It took Ireland just one minute of the second half to draw level when Katie Corrigan dotted down in the corner, but Scotland restored their advantage in the 50th minute as Lisa Thomson broke the line and Helen Nelson added the extras to give them a seven-point lead.

With 20 minutes to go, Ireland were on level terms once again following a rolling maul, Cliodhna Moloney barged over the line and Dannah O’Brien successfully kicked the conversion to make it 12-12.

Both teams went in search of a winning score and Ireland got the opportunity when Aoife Wafer helped earn a penalty, with O’Brien making no mistake in slotting over the three points to put her side in front for the first time.

Scotland had a chance to nick it at the end after a scrum penalty then gave Scotland territory with less than five minutes to go, but Ireland stood firm despite Beibhinn Parsons being sent to the sin bin late on.

Wales leave it late for first win of the tournament

A record crowd for a women’s international at the Principality Stadium saw Wales snatch a last-gasp victory over Italy in the Six Nations.

Wales had lost their previous four matches in the competition and were staring at another defeat before Sisilia Tuipulotu’s try two minutes from time, converted by Lleucu George, earned the hosts a 22-20 victory.

READ MORE: Wales coach mobbed by players after breaking down at full-time in clutch win