England 73-7 Wales: The Red Roses win a world record 25th Test in a row


Helena Rowland scored England’s first try and added two more points after the break
England: (33) 73
Attempts: Rowland 3, Scarratt 2, Packer, penalty, Kildunne, Cokayne, Botterman, Aldcroft; Cons: Scarratt 5, Rowland
Wales: (7) 7
Try: Crabb; Opposite: Snowsill

England became the first team in history to win 25 consecutive Tests as they finished their World Cup preparations with an 11-try win over Wales at Ashton Gate in Bristol.

The Red Roses scored six tries to Wales’ one in the first half.

Their dominance grew after the break as center Helena Rowland completed a hat-trick.

It was the last chance for the two coaches to look at their sides before the 32-man World Cup squad is named.

The England squad will be announced on Tuesday and Wales on Wednesday, with the tournament starting in New Zealand on October 8.

In tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, both sides wore black armbands during the national anthem and match shirts in tribute to the Queen.

A minute’s silence was held at Ashton Gate and a tribute was shown on the big screen as the crowd sang and clapped their hearts out to God Save The King in the 70th minute of the match.

Players and fans observe a minute's silence
Fans and players held a minute’s silence in honor of Queen Elizabeth II

Rowland has answered the central riddle within

England enter the World Cup as favourites, having last lost to New Zealand in 2019.

The forwards claimed early dominance against the visitors who never softened and several members of the back row shone in their final bid for World Cup selection.

Manager Simon Middleton says it will be a tough call at centre-back, but Rowland – who can also play at full-back and wing-half – confidently answered that question as he found every possible gap in the Welsh line.

Full-back Ellie Kildunne was also lively, showing good tactical sense to pounce with a shot in the Wales corner – a move that eventually led to a penalty try for England.

But it was not everyone’s day. Star fly-half Zoe Harrison – who Middleton appears to have put her full faith in – was not as sharp as usual and winger Lydia Thompson perhaps lacked the finishing ability of the back three contenders.

Lark Davies could have an injury. It seems that in the 35th minute he had to leave the field.

But substitute Amy Cokayne showed she could go it alone, at one point offering speed back to cut through the Welsh defense and set up Rowland’s second try.

Emily Scarratt, Marlie Packer, Kildunne, Hannah Botterman and Zoe Aldcroft also scored for England, who surpassed the run of 24 tests previously set by the Cypriot men.

Concerns about the gap in Wales remain

While England’s play led to plenty of tries, Wales continued to struggle with theirs as they did in their last outing against Canada.

In their first game against England, since the full team went professional – the Red Roses have been in action since 2019 – Wales’ lines faltered and their team was pushed back time and time again.

The visitors finally got a clean sheet to give the traveling fans hope as Gwen Crabb drove over the line and Elinor Snowsill’s conversion leveled the score at 7-7.

Alex Callender was shown a yellow card that Wales can’t afford, with former England center Carys Williams-Morris coming into his own foul.

Callender later made some amends, showing no lack of enthusiasm, with Wales 45-7 up in the second half as he charged a Scarratt conversion.

But Ioan Cunningham’s team’s inability to clear their lines added to the deficit, and in the end handed England another heavy defeat.

Player of the Match – Helena Rowland

Helena Rowland runs with the ball
There’s little doubt that Helena Rowland will be on the plane to New Zealand after an incredible show in Bristol.

The eleven

England: Kildune; Thompson, Scarratt, Rowland, McKenna; Harrison, L Packer; Cornborough, Davies, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, M Packer, Hunter (capt).

Replacements: Cokayne, Botterman, Muir, Beckett, P Cleall, MacDonald, Reed, Aitchison.

Wales: Terry; Norkett, Williams-Morris, H Jones (capt), Joyce; Snowsill, F Lewis; Pyrs, Phillips, Hale, John, Crabb, Butchers, Callender, Harries.

Replacements: K Jones, Thomas, Tuipulotu, Lillicrap, B Lewis, Bevan, George, Webb.