England’s World Cup preparations continue, with a dismal victory over the USA Eagles making the Red Roses the first Tier 1 nation to win 24 games in a row. This stat adds to England’s tag of being a favorite to win the trophy.
Simon Middleton said he is using the game as a “discovery match” for the World Cup squad, which will be announced on September 20th. After an impressive performance throughout Round 23, Middleton said the game answered some questions.
“We learned a lot about what we wanted to learn,” said the head coach. “Next week’s team [against Wales] would look very different. ”
The match started with sustained American pressure, but Erie Kildun tore the ball to give England a foothold. His five-metre scrum for the Red Roses soon followed, with England dominating the scrum by pulling away his half Natasha Hunt. It wasn’t long before the crowd rose to their feet again when Jess Breach intercepted the ball and ran 60 meters to score.
England kept hitting the line for a third try and thought they had it but after a lengthy TMO check it was ruled no try.
USA’s Hallie Taufo’ou received a march to the trash can and the Red Roses gained maximum advantage by crashing Amy Cocaine.
England’s scoring continued. Claudia, recovering from a neck injury, was a dream comeback for McDonald’s. The man of the match scored his fourth try for England, shortly after which Breach again ran half the pitch to score the goal.
The USA appeared to unleash their own punches before the break and pointed the penalty stick. But Gaby Cantona, who plays here for Exeter, missed the kick.
The USA had their first long-running attack at 22 after half-time, but a knock-on gave England a scrum. They moved the ball upfield, eventually reaching MacDonald on the wing and scoring.
England’s deadly Rolling Moll secured the next try with Cocaine rewarded. They could have done more damage, but another Morse score was chalked off due to obstruction.
It was time for America to celebrate when Aleb Kelter found a pocket of space. She hit the ball to Hope Rogers.
After the conversion, referee Aurelie Groislare was on-screen when Shauna Brown put in a high tackle and Groislare sent her to the bin. Things got worse for England as Helena Rowland showed a yellow with an intentional knock-on and USA scored a penalty try.
England were reduced to 13 but still added to the scoreboard. Harrison kicked the ball out, the bounce was kind to Kildun, and he scored.
McDonald said he was thrilled to be back after nearly retiring due to injury. “I didn’t think it would change my approach,” she said. “I came back and thought I was going to be very competitive and that was until I came out on the pitch today.
“The last 24, 48 hours have been a bit emotional. I am really excited and relieved. No. The noise from the crowd was immense and the cheers from them were great.”
The Red Roses will become the first international rugby team to win 25 consecutive games if they beat Wales in a friendly on 14 September. The perfect platform to start your bid for World Cup glory.