England thrash Ireland 88-10 in Women's Six Nations drubbing

LONDON -- England kept their quest for a sixth consecutive Six Nations title alive in ruthless fashion on Saturday as they scored 14 tries in an 88-10 bonus point win over Ireland in front of 48,778 fans at Twickenham.

The victory, which also secured England's eighth straight Triple Crown, sets up a likely championship decider against France in Bordeaux next weekend, providing Les Bleues avoid defeat against Wales on Sunday.

Winger Abby Dow and full-back Ellie Kildunne both scored hat tricks as England's attack kicked into overdrive and the Ireland defence creaked under relentless pressure.

"We talked about how we wanted to finish this game with smiles on our faces and happy with our performance and we definitely got that today," England captain Marlie Packer told a postmatch news conference.

"And what better place to do it than here at Twickenham, the home of English rugby. Our home. That was a fine performance and I'm super proud of all the girls for the way they went out and delivered.

"I think the fans really loved it and we feed off that as players and we enjoyed the win today. But then when Monday comes it is full focus then on France."

England head coach John Mitchell spoke in the build-up to the tournament of his hopes to oversee more Red Roses matches at the country's national stadium, and the new swashbuckling style that he has introduced since taking the reins last autumn will have done those chances no harm.

While the attendance was a little short of the world record 58,498 crowd that watched England complete the Grand Slam with a 38-33 against France at Twickenham almost a year ago, the fans made themselves heard from the start.

Buoyed by the home support, England surged forward early as Sadia Kabeya found Dow on the England right. The winger broke two tackles before touching down for the first try of the afternoon, six minutes into the contest.

It only took the No.1-ranked side in the world another three minutes to score their second as Natasha Hunt crossed to finish the move that she had started with a piercing run through the middle of the Ireland line.

The visitors' nightmare start continued as Megan Jones added England's third, before Zoe Aldcroft burst from midfield, holding off tacklers at the goal line for a try that secured the bonus point after just 19 minutes.

Ireland coach Scott Bemand, who has successfully instilled some sound defensive principles into his team having taken over last year, will not have enjoyed the ease with which England found holes in his side's line in the opening stages.

"I think once momentum started moving away from us, I think we probably looked a little bit shellshocked. But that's fine," Bemand said after the final whistle.

"You see teams that went on to become good teams needed to learn to play occasions, whether it be finals, semifinals, big games, and today was a big game for a youthful group.

"So, would we have predicted a margin like that? No, probably not. Obviously it's how it went and there's some bits that we can definitely control better in terms of momentum and when it starts to slide away from you."

Having been dominated so completely, Bemand's team were briefly able to come up for air, building an attack that eventually saw them register their first points against England since 2019, via the boot of Dannah O'Brien.

The visitors looked to have come into the contest with a game plan to kick the ball behind the England defence. It was a tactic that failed to account for the electric Kildunne.

Time and again the 24-year-old built up a head of steam and burst through the Ireland line, scoring a well-deserved try -- her seventh of the tournament -- in the 29th minute following a typically imperious England line out.

England's ruthlessness meant they found the time to add one more try before the interval as some quick hands found Dow in space who touched down for her second try of the game.

The visitors missed 35 tackles in the first half compared to England's two as the home side went into the break with a 38-3 lead.

The Red Roses emerged from the interval equally as motivated and added two more tries before the smoke from pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor's half-time show had been able to escape into the west London air.

First Jess Breach powered down the left wing as England punished O'Brien's fumble in the midfield, before Kabeya stretched for the line under the posts to add a try of her own.

The ill-discipline that has dogged England throughout this tournament reared its head again as Lucy Packer was sent to the sin bin just five minutes after being introduced from the bench.

The scrum-half was deemed to have illegally collapsed a driving maul, resulting in a penalty try for Ireland.

The numerical disadvantage did no harm to the home side though, as Jones added England's ninth try -- and her second -- before Dow completed her hat trick with a trademark burst up the right wing.

A classy offload from replacement centre Emily Scarratt then freed Kildunne to score her second before Breach added another try having been found with a well-weighted kick over the top from fly-half Holly Aitchison.

It was then Kildunne's turn to complete her hat trick and extend her lead at the top of the tournament's try scorers chart.

Maddie Feaunati scored England's 14th and last try of the afternoon as she took advantage of some tiring Irish bodies to register her first Test try.

"We're so happy to play in front of this crowd," Kildunne, who was named player of the match, told the BBC.

"No disrespect to Ireland but we really turned it on. It became running rugby, and it was enjoyable.

"We talk a lot about taking the handbrake off, keep trying new things. He [Mitchell] gives us bags of confidence and belief and we just do our thing."

England had been heavy favourites coming into the game but the clinical nature of their 28th consecutive Six Nations win will have pleased their new head coach ahead of their clash with France next weekend.

Meanwhile, Scotland edged Italy 17-10 in Parma on Saturday for their second win of the tournament.