‘No ceiling on this team’ says Sarah McKenna as England look to get better and better

PUBLISHED: 12:26 11 February 2019

England's women celebrate a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

England's women celebrate a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

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Harpenden’s Sarah McKenna says England’s comprehensive 41-24 win over France lays a marker down for the remainder of the Women’s Six Nations and beyond.

England's Jessica Breach (left) scores the first try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PAEngland's Jessica Breach (left) scores the first try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

The Red Roses were in scintillating form against last year’s Grand Slam winners, scoring four tries in the first half at Castle Park in Doncaster, before adding a further three after the break.

England's Kelly Smith scores a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PAEngland's Kelly Smith scores a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

She thought she had got herself among the scorers too went she went over for a breathtaking score after five minutes.

England's Sarah Bern and Poppy Cleall (6) tackle France's Caroline Boujard during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PAEngland's Sarah Bern and Poppy Cleall (6) tackle France's Caroline Boujard during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

However, that was ruled out for an infringement at an earlier scrum and she was also held up over the line not long after.

England's Kelly Smith celebrates scoring a try with Hannah Botterman during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PAEngland's Kelly Smith celebrates scoring a try with Hannah Botterman during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

All of that paled into insignificance though alongside the result.

England's Poppy Cleall scores a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PAEngland's Poppy Cleall scores a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

“No, I didn’t get a try but we won’t talk about that too much,” she told HertsAdSport with a smile.

England's Poppy Cleall scores a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PAEngland's Poppy Cleall scores a try during the Women's Six Nations match at Castle Park, Doncaster. Picture: MIKE EGERTON/PA

“But that’s not important. It’s all about the team performance. Nobody is counting up their own tally by any means.

“The processes we put in place and the way we stuck to them, that’s the important thing.

“We kicked well in the first half, those are the things we perhaps didn’t do well in the first game.

“It was a really enjoyable game to play in and a really great result which lays a marker down.

“We got a lot out of it and put a lot of things into practice that we’ve been working on.”

She did play her part though in a thrilling first half, setting up Jess Breach for the second of her two tries, and making countless numbers of perfectly-angled runs.

And with the rest of the backs also clicking in the opening 40 minutes, she said that laid the platform for the final result.

She said: “We played with a real tempo in the first half. The forwards did a great job of getting over the gain line and getting quick ball.

“We knew that France would be competitive at the breakdown and we nullified that with the quick ball giving us the platform to play wide.

“It’s a good bunch and we’ve had a good amount of time as back that we’re fizzing off each other and you could see that.

“We were all running, all being threats at the same time and any single one of us has the potential to be scoring or setting something up.”

Focus now turns to Wales in Cardiff on February 24 where McKenna says the plan is to kick on even more.

She said: “We’re always setting further markers ahead.

“We set some today and achieved them and now we have to set the next ones and achieve them.

“We fell short in a couple of them against Ireland and the way we controlled possession was something we’ve put right against France.

“There’s no ceiling on this team and a performance like that only inspires us to kick on even more.”

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