Red Roses smash Canada to claim 17th win in a row

Heather Cowell (two, on Test debut), Sarah Bern (two), Claudia MacDonald (two) and Alex Matthews each score tries as Red Roses dispatch of Canada at the Stoop on Sunday; win is a third convincing victory in succession this month for Red Roses after 43-12 and 56-15 wins over New Zealand.

Last Updated: 14/11/21 4:47pm

Red Roses wing Heather Cowell scored a brace of tries on her England Test debut vs Canada
Red Roses wing Heather Cowell scored a brace of tries on her England Test debut vs Canada

The Red Roses made it three from three in their Autumn Series campaign – and 17 wins in a row – thanks to a 51-12 win over Canada at The Stoop on Sunday. 

The Red Roses began at a blistering pace, as their forwards – including Poppy Cleall and Abbie Ward, both of whom were earning their 50th cap – pounded the Canadian defence with heavy carries off scrum-half Claudia MacDonald.

The pressure paid off after just four minutes when Zoe Harrison fed Helena Rowland after a quick tap penalty, who then fizzed a 10-metre pass to Heather Cowell. The winger collected and sprinted into the corner for a try on her Test debut.

The Maple Leafs responded and took the lead on the 22-minute mark, as wing Paige Farries intercepted a wayward Harrison pass to canter in unopposed, with fly-half Brianna Miller adding the extras to make it 5-7.

It was short lived though, as on the Red Roses’ next surge toward the Canadian line, Bristol powerhouse prop Sarah Bern bounced off two defenders to claim England’s second try. Harrison followed up her successful conversion with a 30-metre penalty minutes later.

As half-time approached a moment of magic saw Canada close the gap, thanks to a superb solo score from wing Sabrina Poulin, who hit an arcing run off an attacking scrum to zip over into the corner.

Sarah Bern also scored twice in the dominant victory at the Stoop

But Cowell was on hand in the final play of the first half to cross for her second score, the try identical to her first, giving England a 20-12 lead at the break.

Two minutes into the second half Bern hit a line and broke through to score her second, and Harrison’s extras extended the Red Roses lead to 15 points.

From then, the Red Roses began to take control of the Test, and as the hour mark approached, Claudia MacDonald darted off the back of a rolling maul, splitting the Canadian midfield to dot down under the sticks, giving Harrison the easiest of conversions.

Another penalty from the boot of Harrison, her twelfth point of the match, kept the scoreboard ticking over, and an Alex Matthews try 10 minutes from the end, was followed by another MacDonald score – one converted by Rowland, the other by Harrison – made it 51-12 and secured the win.

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