Try high: Breach on mark as England's Red Roses beat Ireland

Jess Breach helped England make sure their bid for back-to-back Grand Slam titles in the Women’s Six Nations remains on track as they romped to a comfortable five-try victory over Ireland in Doncaster.

Jess Breach goes over for a try in England's beating of Ireland at Doncaster / Picture: Getty Images
Jess Breach goes over for a try in England's beating of Ireland at Doncaster / Picture: Getty Images

Sarah Hunter, Abby Dow, West Sussex star Breach and Vicky Fleetwood all crossed the whitewash in the first half as Simon Middleton’s Red Roses bagged the try bonus point before the break.

And while Ireland showed plenty of resistance after the interval to shut England out for 20 minutes, a further try from Sarah McKenna ensured the hosts ran out 27-0 winners at Castle Park.

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With three wins from three, the defending champions sit top of the table going into the final two rounds as only Wales and Italy stand between them and a second consecutive Grand Slam.

Player of the match Zoe Aldcroft said: “It feels really good. It was nice to get out here and we were ready for it. Every time we put on the shirt, we do it with everything we can.”

Ireland went into the game full of confidence after impressive victories over Scotland and Wales but a match-up against England is always the ultimate litmus test to see where a side is at.

And the hosts wasted no time at all as quick ball put Lark Davies through a gap in the Ireland defence in the opening minute before Breach came within a whisker of the opening try.

Recycled ball enabled England to crash over the line and while Ireland briefly delayed the inevitable by holding the ball up, Hunter dotted down from the subsequent scrum as Emily Scarratt converted.

Ireland looked for an instant response with their first taste of possession but after Fleetwood was penalised at the ruck, Claire Keohane was unable to find touch with her kick.

Further Ireland ball provided more encouragement for the women in green, only for England to score their second of the game against the run of play through Dow.

The Red Roses entered the Ireland half with a rampaging maul and spread the ball wide to Scarratt, who broke the line before Dow put the finishing touches to her fourth try in three games.

And third try arrived just before the half hour mark after England swamped the left channel and released Breach as the prolific winger shook off her tackler and dived over in the corner.

With the blustery conditions making kicking tricky, Scarratt was unable to add the extras but England ended the half on a high when Fleetwood crossed for the bonus-point try.

The hosts kicked to the corner before executing a perfect lineout from close range, setting up a powerful driving maul that carried Fleetwood over for England’s fourth score.

Ireland returned after the restart with renewed vigour and after forcing England back at the scrum, they came close to their first score before losing possession on the cusp of the whitewash.

The higher tempo from Adam Griggs’ side began to cause the Red Roses more and more problems but unlike the hosts, they were unable to convert their pressure into points.

A quarter of an hour passed before England came close to adding to their total, with Dow going over in the corner before the try was ruled out for a forward pass from Scarratt.

The fifth try eventually arrived on the hour mark after quick lineout throw from Dow found Natasha Hunt, who carried the ball into contact before McKenna scuttled over the line.

England continued to throw the ball around in the final 15 minutes as their free-flowing rugby opened up holes in the Ireland defence but handling errors let Ireland off the hook.