Rugby - England dominate Wales to keep women's Six Nations Grand Slam hopes alive

Rugby - England dominate Wales to keep women's Six Nations Grand Slam hopes alive
By Reuters
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(Reuters) - England maintained their perfect start to the Women's Six Nations Championship and kept their Grand Slam hopes alive with a dominant 51-12 victory over Wales in Cardiff on Sunday.

England moved back to the top of the standings with the win after Italy and France had leapfrogged Simon Middleton's side with victories over Ireland and Scotland, respectively, on Saturday.

"We definitely want to achieve the Grand Slam. But Italy played very well yesterday so we are taking each game as it comes," England prop Sarah Bern told Sky Sports.

Bern and wing Jess Breach scored two tries each for England in the first half while Marlie Packer also got on the scoresheet as they raced to a 29-5 halftime lead.

Winger Jess Kavanagh scored Wales' first try in this year's Championship to give the home support something to cheer while replacement prop Cerys Hale also scored after 28 phases in the second half.

But there was no stopping the English juggernaut as Cath O'Donnell, Abigail Dow, Sarah Beckett and Katy Daley-McLean scored a try apiece.

England scored 50 points for the second time this year after beating Ireland 51-7 in the opening round earlier this month.

Wales, still waiting for their first win, next travel to Scotland on March 8 while England host Italy in a top-of-the-table clash a day later.

On Saturday, Italy beat Ireland for the first time ever in the Championship with a 29-27 win in Parma.

Italy flanker Giada Franco scored two tries in a tense encounter which was tied at 22-22 at halftime while Ireland winger Eimear Considine also finished with two tries as both teams received bonus points.

Substitute Laura Sheehan scored a try in the 64th minute to cut the lead to just two points but Italy managed to hold on to temporarily move to the top of the standings.

Meanwhile, last year's Grand Slam champions France returned to winning ways after losing to England in Doncaster with a 41-10 victory over Scotland, who are also yet to win a match.

Flyhalf Gabrielle Vernier starred for the French in Lille with a fine hat-trick, with two of her tries coming in the first half. Third-placed France next travel to Ireland on March 9.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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