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Simon Middleton hails ‘uncompromising’ England after sealing ‘incredible’ Grand Slam

Simon Middleton hailed his England side as the best he’s ever coached after they won another TikTok Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam with a 24-12 win over France in Bayonne.

That Red Roses secured their 23rd consecutive win Thanks to attempts from Abbie Ward and two from Sarah Bern in the first half as they fended off an early Romane Menager goal.

Middleton believes the result was never in doubt after his side leveled points shortly afterwards – highlighting his side’s virtues following the historic victory.

“They’re the best England team I’ve ever coached,” said Middleton.

“You are unbelievable. We had to win today to prove to ourselves that everything was worth it and that we’re on the right track.

“I can’t tell you how hard these players work, they are absolutely uncompromising.”

England had looked shaken in front of a partisan home crowd in the first five minutes as the hosts scored the opening goal within three minutes, but the visitors bounced back, dominating most of the game and securing a comfortable win.

“We really controlled the game and the resilience we showed was incredible,” Middleton added.

“I think we’re an incredibly physically and mentally resilient team now, which is the hallmark of a great team – and that’s what we want to be.

“It wasn’t always pretty, but it was very effective. Obviously you want to entertain, but you want to win more than anything. There’s nothing wrong with being a gallant loser.

“They are a great side and the start they had could always have had the potential to go one way or the other early in the game.

“That’s one of the things we wanted to find out today, how resilient is this team, what is it built on, can it withstand the most pressure?

“I never thought that once it went seven to all we would lose the game because we had answered the question and then we go 21-7.

“We probably didn’t break free to play as much as we wanted, but they showed they are great champions and know how to win a game. Today was all about winning.”

England’s lineout and rolling maul were real weapons once again, with Lark Davies’ accurate throwing and the power of the rest of the forwards being crucial in all three of England’s attempts.

Bern went over first after 11 minutes before Ward squeezed through five minutes later to give England an lead they would never give up.

Prop Bern shone at Bayonne and was rewarded with another try, another lineout maul after 26 minutes to put England firmly under control before the break.

Annaelle Deshaye snagged a second try for Les Bleues but it wasn’t enough to set the stage for a rousing French comeback.

Boss Middleton was full of praise for Bern, as well as other high-profile players like Zoe Aldcroft and Emily Scarratt, who he felt had stepped up to the plate on the greatest occasions.

“The big players definitely came to the party today,” Middleton added.

“Some of the younger, less experienced players have kind of shown where they stand and that’s one of those insights, but they’re getting better and stronger as we progress.

“We have this group of older players who are so proud to play for England and who work so hard to keep their shirt, they set a good example.

“We have so many players with a huge number of caps and they still set the standards and they are setting the example today, they were the difference.”

The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is more accessible than ever. To find out how to watch the Women’s Championship visit: womens.sixnationsrugby.com/tv/

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/england-simon-middleton-womens-six-nations-b2069174.html Simon Middleton hails ‘uncompromising’ England after sealing ‘incredible’ Grand Slam

Ashley

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