England begin WXV1 with six-try win over Australia

England’s remaining WXV fixtures are against Canada and world champions New Zealand
England: (28) 42
Tries: Botterman, Wyrwas, Packer 2, Breach, Jones; Cons: Aitchison 6
Australia: (0) 7
Try: Marsters; Con: Dallinger

England beat Australia 42-7 to make a winning start to WXV1, the new global tournament in women’s rugby.

The Red Roses, currently top of the world rankings, secured a bonus point before half-time in Wellington.

Hannah Botterman, Ella Wyrwas, captain Marlie Packer and Jess Breach all crossed in the first 40 minutes.

Packer and Megan Jones added further scores for England, while Ashley Marsters replied for Australia, who had Annabelle Codey sent off.

Second row Codey, who had been sin-binned in the first half for making shoulder contact with Packer’s head, was shown a red card for the same offence against Wyrwas in the build-up to Jones’ try.

England’s next fixture is against Canada (27 October, 07:00 BST), who they recently beat in a home two-match series, before they take on New Zealand in a repeat of last year’s World Cup final (4 November, 06:00 GMT).

New England era starts with dominant win

The first ever WXV tournament signals the start of a new era for England – new head coach John Mitchell has linked up with the team in New Zealand, following Simon Middleton’s decision to step down after a Six Nations Grand Slam was completed in April.

Interim head coach Louis Deacon suggested before this opening game that Mitchell would take more of a watching brief early in his reign, and the former All Blacks coach is sure to be pleased with some of his initial observations.

England had won all six previous meetings with the Wallaroos, including a 41-5 success in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, so were expected to make a positive start to WXV and duly delivered.

Line-outs were the platform for four of their six tries, firstly when prop Botterman showed too much strength for the opposition and powered through a host of Australia tacklers.

Packer profited from two catch-and-drives, while Breach touched down out wide for England’s fourth score on the brink of the interval.

Australia, not helped by injuries to wing Maya Stewart and fly-half Carys Dallinger either side of half-time, showed positive signs at times but rarely threatened England’s tryline.

Sharp thinking provided their only try of the match, with replacement Marsters going over after a close-range penalty was tapped quickly.


England: Rowland; Dow, Jones, Heard, Breach; Aitchison, Wyrwas; Botterman, Powell, Muir, Galligan, Aldcroft, Allen, Packer, Matthews.

Replacements: Atkin-Davies, Carson, Clifford, Beckett, Hibbert-Jones, Hunt, Bridger, Sing.

Australia: Moleka; Stewart, Friedrichs, McKenzie, Wong; Dallinger, Morgan; Hoy, Naden, Karpani, Leonard, Codey, Palu, Chancellor, Leaney.

Replacements: Talakai, Cheatham, Robinson, Lafai, Marsters, Dougherty, Smith, Miller.

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