- England fall short in Six Nations opener
- Edwards and Harries claim famous Welsh victory
Wales 13 England Women 0
Second-half tries from Catrin Edwards and Laurie Harries gave Wales a 13-0 victory over England Women in their opening Six Nations match at Swansea's St Helen's ground.
Strong running from Alexandra Matthews and a lightning break by Ruth Laybourn fashioned an early chance for Megan Goddard from the tee, but the Worcester centre saw her penalty attempt fall just short.
The hosts then started to gain a foothold in the game, showing invention and energy to impart their offloading game.
One fast-paced attack forced a ruck penalty, and Harries opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time.
Wales took hold of the territorial exchanges immediately after the break as well, England failing to clear their lines from the restart.
Nicky Ponsford's charges defended heroically, Richmond lock Rowena Burnfield putting in a series of fearsome challenges, but tighthead prop Edwards eventually burrowed over on her 60th cap following some punchy phase-play.
From there, England finally began to find their way into the contest. However, Goddard saw two more penalties sail wide and they were dealt a blow when scrum-half and vice-captain La Toya Mason was stretchered from the field with a leg injury.
That did give Ponsford the chance to hand replacement Bianca Blackburn her first cap, the Worcester half-back joining Abigail Brown, Sydney Gregson, Hannah Field and fellow replacements Victoria Cornborough, Abbie Scott and Katie Mason on debut.
Despite late improvements though, Wales proved too strong and added to their advantage when fly half Elinor Snowsill found Harries with a pinpoint cross-field kick.
England host Italy next Sunday at the Twickenham Stoop, and will be eager to put this result behind them.
15. Kay Wilson (Thurrock), 14. Ruth Laybourn (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 13. Abigail Brown (Bristol)*, 12. Megan Goddard (Worcester), 11. Sydney Gregson (Bristol)*, 10. Ceri Large (Worcester), 9. La Toya Mason (Wasps, vice captain).
1. Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2. Emma Croker (Richmond), 3. Laura Keates (Worcester), 4. Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, captain), 5. Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 6. Hannah Field (Richmond)*, 7. Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), 8. Alexandra Matthews (Richmond).
Replacements: 16. Victoria Fleetwood (Saracens), 17 Victoria Cornborough (Richmond)*, 18 Justine Lucas (Lichfield), 19. Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)*, 20. Harriet Millar-Mills (Waterloo), 21. Bianca Blackburn (Worcester)*, 22 Lauren Cattell (Saracens), 23 Katie Mason (Bristol)*
* denotes Test debut
Sunday, 15 February – England vs Italy, kick-off 2pm, the Twickenham Stoop. Live on EnglandRugby.com
Frifay, 27 February – Ireland vs England, kick-off 7.30pm, Asbourne RFC. Live stream by IRFU
Friday, 13 March – England vs Scotland, kick-off 7.35pm, the Northen Echo Arena, Darlington. Live on Sky Sports.
Saturday, 21 March – England vs France, KO 7.20pm, Twickenham Stadium. Live on the BBC red button.