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Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 20:42 UK

England Women storm to opening World Cup win over Irish

England Women (12) 27
Tries: Pocock, Merchant, Taylor, Alphonsi Con: McLean (2) Pen: McLean
Ireland Women (0) 0

England's Katherine Merchant eludes the tackle of Helen Brosnan
Katherine Merchant scored England's second try

England Women made a fine start to their World Cup campaign with a bonus-point win over Ireland at Guildford.

Tries by wingers Fi Pocock and Katherine Merchant put England on top of a hard-tackling game at half-time.

Ireland battled on bravely but when the next score came from Amy Turner, England's win was all but sealed.

The hosts went all-out in search of a bonus-point fourth try and finally got it when Maggie Alphonsi gathered up a loose ball to score at the death.

Playing with the wind behind them, England went straight on the attack, and Ireland had not even crossed the half-way line before England went ahead on eight minutes.

Left wing Pocock opened England's account when she went over behind the posts, following a good forward-inspired break, which featured neat inter-passing that stretched the Irish defence to breaking point.

Having taken the early blows, Ireland then began to impose themselves on the match, but it was England who came closest to adding the next score.

Danielle Waterman looked on course to add a second try in the left-hand corner when she was taken out just inches from the line by a superbly-timed Niamh Briggs challenge.

Ireland capitalised on this to launch a sustained period of pressure of their own, with Lynne Cantwell bursting through the middle and offloading to Nora Stapleton.

But the move failed to bring any reward, and when the next score came, it was England adding to their advantage.

Katie McLean's reverse pass set up Alphonsi to charge straight up the middle of the pitch and she was hauled down just inches short of the line, but England maintained the pressure and Merchant went over in the right-hand corner.

Ireland put up more spirited resistance after the break, but when England managed the next score of the match, it looked decisive.

Turner's quick tap-penalty allowed her to barge over from close range for England's third, and with victory now assured, they turned their efforts to scoring the fourth try for a bonus point.

It came when the hugely impressive Alphonsi snaffled up a loose ball yards from the line and went over to score behind the posts.

Earlier in the day, fly-half Christy Ringgenberg scored 26 points as inaugural World Cup winners the USA romped to a 51-0 win over Kazakhstan.

England team to face Ireland: Danielle Waterman (Worcester); Katherine Merchant (Worcester), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Rachael Burford (Richmond), Fiona Pocock (Richmond); Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Amy Turner (Richmond); Rochelle Clark (Team Northumbria), Amy Garnett (Saracens), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Becky Essex (Richmond), Jo McGilchrist (Wasps), Heather Fisher (Worcester), Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), Catherine Spencer (Bristol)
Replacements: Emma Crocker (Richmond), Claire Purdy (Wasps), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), La Toya Mason (Wasps), Alice Richardson (Richmond), Charlotte Barras (Saracens)

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Women's Rugby World Cup results
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