By Thomas Branston
England’s Red Roses were crowned the 2017 Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam Champions for the first time since 2012 after an impressive 34-7 win over Ireland in Donnybrook.
Amy Wilson Hardy gave England a narrow 5-0 first-half lead after Ireland had the ball held up twice just before the break.
Second-half tries from Laura Keates, Amy Cokayne, Emily Scarratt and Lydia Thompson with Scarratt ending the match with 14 points.
Ireland did scored a consolation try of their own when hooker Leah Lyons crashed over from close-range but it was not enough to prevent England’s first Six Nations win in Ireland since 2011.
In a tense first-half it took the opening until the 15th minute for Scarratt to loop a fine pass to Wilson Hardy who finished well in the corner.
Scarratt couldn’t add the conversion in difficult conditions as the score stayed at 5-0 at the half-time interval.
England started with the same intensity and brought on Worcester Valkyries’ Laura Keates for Rochelle Clark in the front row and it took just 14 minutes for the prop to crash over from close-range.
Just minutes later England were awarded as Ireland’s Mairead Coyne was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on and Scarratt slotted the penalty through to extend the Red Roses’ score.
Cokayne raced away like a steam train after receiving a quick offload from Scarratt to extend England’s score with Ireland down to 14 players and Scarratt added the extras.
Ireland did score a try of their own as Lyons crashed over from close-range after a driven maul.
However the Red Roses scored just moments later when Scarratt received an offload from Wilson Hardy off the floor and the centre stepped the last defender to score with ease and she converted her own try.
England furthered their lead as Thompson received the ball from a Scarratt offload and the winger danced her way down the touchline to score under the posts and Scarratt added the extras.
Amber Reed sent the ball out to touch as the clock struck 80 and England celebrated winning their first Grand Slam since 2012.