England beat France to win Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam

England completed a third straight Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam when they beat France in the closing game of the championship 42-21 in Bordeaux on Saturday.

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It was England’s 28th successive victory in the competition and their fifth straight title overall.

France, the last nation other than England to win the competition, went into the match also on four wins, trailing England by one bonus point.

England jumped into an early 14-point lead in the title decider in front of a sold-out crowd of 28,000 in Bordeaux.

England prop Maud Muir smashed over after four minutes, and No. 8 Alex Matthews trotted over after 11 minutes.

France hit back as centre Gabrielle Vernier scored after 17 minutes.

The home team’s determination to run the ball cost them in the 24th minute. Emilie Boulard attempted to carry the ball out of her 22 and threw an interception to Abby Dow who scampered over.

Winger Marine Menager surged up the line and through some limp tackling to reply for France, but England’s forward power told as flanker Marlie Packer and hooker Amy Cokayne scored before half time as England led 35-14 at the break.

Last season at Twickenham, England led 33-0 at half time but ended up clinging to a five-point win after an inspired French fight back.

This time, the home team’s hopes of a rally were hit after 44 minutes when prop Assia Khalfaoui was shown a yellow card, quickly upgraded to red on video review, for head-to-head contact with England’s Morwenna Talling.

Menager rekindled French hopes when she scored in the corner with 10 minutes left but that roused England and Matthews burst through a gap to score. 

Holly Aitchison, who had struggled with her placing kicking in the tournament, converted all six English tries. Lina Queyroi goaled all three French scores

Earlier on Saturday, Ireland rebounded from a 78-point thrashing by England in their previous match to beat Scotland 15-12 in Belfast and secure third place and automatic qualification for the World Cup.

Dannah O’Brien booted the decisive penalty with three minutes left.

Scotland finished fourth.

Wales avoided a tournament whitewash but still ended up with the wooden spoon after Lleucu George converted Sisilia Tuipulotu’s late try to secure a 22-20 win in Cardiff over Italy, who finished fifth.

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