Helena Rowland bags hat-trick as Red Roses beat Wales and set winning record

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  • World Cup warmup: England 73-7 Wales
  • England first international team to win 25 consecutive matches

A Helena Rowland hat-trick helped England to a 73-7 win over Wales at Ashton Gate which means the Red Roses will head to the upcoming World Cup on a winning run of 25 consecutive matches. They are the first international rugby team to win 25 in a row – the perfect springboard from which to launch their World Cup campaign on October 8 against Fiji.

A key moment in the match came around the 70-minute mark when the Red Roses went down to 14 players. Player of the match Rowland was hooked off in what was described as a precautionary measure and she could not be replaced as England had already emptied their bench.

“She started to cramp,” head coach Simon Middleton said post-match. “The last thing we want is for the cramp to turn into a tear. Medical were concerned. Yes it gives you a chance to look at a 14-player scenario and get Holly [Aitchison] some time. We wanted to look at Holly at 13 and what we didn’t want to do was disrespect Wales in any way.

“We would never do that. I would rather have that finger pointed at me than leave my 12 on the field and the cramp turns into a tear. We were never going to take a chance on that.”

After a minute’s silence for Queen Elizabeth II the match got underway. England had good early possession but the lineout was sloppy five metres out which gave Wales a foothold. The visitors won another penalty and fly-half Elinor Snowsill showed their intent with a kick to the corner.

However, the tides quickly turned with England gathering the ball from the Welsh lineout and running it upfield. In the 22 Helena Rowland ran a beautiful line to bypass two defenders to crash over, which had the 11,961 crowd on their feet. Rowland had a try ruled out due to obstruction just a few minutes later after a TMO check.

Wales were the next to strike with a driving maul seeing Gwen Crabb reap the rewards, Snowsill added the extras to level the game after 15 minutes. England hit back quickly with Lydia Thompson working a play straight off the training pitch to rip open the Welsh defence, eventually winning a penalty. The ball was whipped out from the maul to Emily Scarratt who leaped to England’s second try. The hosts’ driving maul came into play next but Alex Callender brought it down illegally and was sent to the sin bin. The hosts took full advantage of being a player up with Marlie Packer crashing over off the back of a maul.

England’s fourth of the evening came through a penalty try. There was a worry for the team shortly before as Lark Davies was replaced by Amy Cokayne and Middleton did not have a conclusive answer on Davies’ injury post-match. Ellie Kildunne wrapped up the first half with the Red Roses’ fifth as England outnumbered Wales on the wing.

The Red Roses continued their scoring ways immediately after the break with Cokayne going over from a driving maul and the replacement hooker was instrumental in their next try, running a great line to feed Rowland, who sprinted over. Scarratt lodged her complaints after her conversion was charged down by Callender but referee Aurelie Groizeleau was happy.

England kept hammering the Welsh line and found another score through Scarratt. A slick team try followed with the likes of replacements Claudia MacDonald, Holly Aitchison and Hannah Botterman putting it through the hands to put Rowland through for her hat-trick. Botterman and Zoe Aldcroft finished off an impressive display with their fire firmly lit to win back the trophy they haven’t had their hands on since 2014.

Wales too will be on a plane to New Zealand for the World Cup and captain Hannah Jones said: “We have a bit of time now to hurt, to reflect. We have got to pick ourselves up, there is a quick turnaround.”

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Written by Sarah Rendell at Ashton Gate
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/sep/14/helena-rowland-hat-trick-red-roses-england-beat-wales-set-winning-record under the title “Helena Rowland bags hat-trick as Red Roses beat Wales and set winning record”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.