Plenty more to come from England, says head coach John Mitchell

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

England head coach John Mitchell believes there is “massive growth” left in the Red Roses after they completed a second successive Guinness Six Nations bonus-point victory.

A 46-10 triumph over Wales at Ashton Gate means England top the table with maximum points ahead of their clash against Scotland next month.

As in a runaway win against opening Six Nations opponents Italy, England scored eight tries. And they did it in front of a 19,700 crowd, which was the biggest home attendance for a Red Roses game away from Twickenham.

Full-back Ellie Kildunne led the way with two tries, while there were also touchdowns for Hannah Botterman, Maud Muir, Abby Dow, Lark Atkin-Davies, Zoe Aldcroft and Rosie Galligan.

Fly-half Holly Aitchison kicked three conversions, while Wales posted a consolation try from replacement Keira Bevan and Lleucu George landed a conversion and penalty.

“The game doesn’t always go for you in attack, so you have got to be good on the other side of the ball,” Mitchell said. “The start is the maul defence and we are making good strides.

“To be a really good team and for this team to grow we need to find different ways to score and make sure we can play the game in different ways.

“We are trying to be very clear on our strategy. They built pressure in both halves and I think we left a couple (of tries) out there as well. I still think there is massive growth left in us.”

England captain Marlie Packer added: “We put a spotlight on ourselves. We want to play with tempo and put an exciting brand of rugby out on the pitch.

“Our set-piece was phenomenal, which gave us really good front-foot ball to play.

“We want to let the handbrake off and play. The ball will go down at some points in the game because of how we are trying to play, but hopefully it is exciting rugby.

“We had 19,000 fans here today and we want them to keep coming back.”

For Wales, it was a second successive Six Nations defeat after losing 20-18 to Scotland, but head coach Ioan Cunningham was in upbeat mood.

“I am very encouraged. If I am honest, I thought we left four or five tries out on the field today,” he said.

“It is showing what we can do. It is just about being a bit more clinical.

“I am so proud of the effort. We have just got to balance that up with having that composure at the right time and once that clicks we will be a tough team to stop.”

Related items

  • Buttler 'always' going to return as England T20 captain Buttler 'always' going to return as England T20 captain

    Jos Buttler was "always" going to return as England's limited-overs captain despite the team's poor ODI World Cup defence in India.

    After England won the 2019 ODI World Cup in epic fashion by beating New Zealand in a Super Over at Lord's, their defence of the title in India last year saw them fail to advance from the group stage.

    With England looking to put in a better defence of their T20 World Cup crown in the upcoming tournament in the West Indies and the United States which gets under way in June, Buttler says he was always going to remain limited-overs captain, though he acknowledges he made mistakes in India.

    "My first priority at the moment is being England captain and trying to prepare as best we can for a world tournament," Buttler told Sky Sports. "So I always said to Rob [Key, England managing director] I would definitely be coming back as England captain, and he's made the call on the rest of the players.

    "It's a chapter in the book. It was obviously a really disappointing World Cup, and your pride's dented, your confidence gets dented a bit, but time moves on and there's a really exciting opportunity now.

    "I think sometimes you try and let players play with freedom and you don't want to step in too much but making sure you don't miss things.

    "Maybe more communication at times to make sure people are clear on what is needed from them, on what they want from me or the coach."

    England were due to kick off a four-match T20I warm-up series against Pakistan at Headingley on Wednesday, but the game was abandoned because of rain without a ball having been bowled.

    England will get their T20I World Cup under way when they face Scotland in Barbados on June 4.

    Buttler feels some of the newer faces in the England squad have the potential to lead the team to an improved showing on what was seen in India, saying: "I think we've got a really nice, blended squad, actually. We've got a lot of experience but some guys who are really on the upward curve with the likes of Phil Salt, Will Jacks.

    "Harry Brook is still very early in his international career and those guys I really see trending in the right direction and pushing this team forward."

  • Anderson admits speculation over England future was 'draining' ahead of retirement Anderson admits speculation over England future was 'draining' ahead of retirement

    James Anderson acknowledged repeated questioning over his Test future became "draining", as the England great prepares for his final international red-ball outing in July.

    England's all-time leading wicket-taker Anderson announced earlier this month that he will end his storied red-ball career after the first Test against West Indies on July 10.

    The 41-year-old will require nine wickets in his final Test to surpass Shane Warne's 708 wickets and move second on the all-time dismissals list.

    Anderson will be greeted with a rapturous farewell at Lord's, though the Lancashire veteran says speculation over his retirement while still playing was somewhat straining.

    He said on the BBC's Tailenders podcast: "There's probably been two or three moments on the field, if the opposition are 500-3, I'll be thinking, 'do I really want to still be doing this?'

    "They are fleeting thoughts – nothing that has stuck with me or more than an over.

    "I don't know how much of that was me and how much it was the external noise that comes with ageing. For the last six years, or even longer, it's been, 'how long can you go on for?'

    "That in itself, certainly for the last couple of years, has been quite draining."

    Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum will be tasked with rebuilding an England bowling attack capable of overturning Australia away in the next Ashes series.

    That plan for the future seemed to force Anderson's hand into announcing his retirement decision, with speculation building the day before his eventual confirmation followed.

    Though content with his decision, Anderson admitted there is still a small part of him wishing to continue.

    "Some days I wake up and wish I was not retiring but then 90 per cent of the time, I'm happy with it," he added.

    "Not many people in sport get the chance to retire from sport at over 40. I'm happy I've made it this far."

  • Headingley washout stops England and Pakistan's T20 World Cup preparation Headingley washout stops England and Pakistan's T20 World Cup preparation

    England and Pakistan were denied valuable T20 World Cup preparation after the first game of their limited-overs series was abandoned due to rain at Headingley on Wednesday.

    The umpires took little time to call off the first of a four-match T20I series as the decision was made without a ball being bowled at the ground in Leeds.

    England will have to wait to assess the fitness of the returning Jofra Archer, with Pakistan also having no chance to evaluate their players as the only side to still not announce their World Cup squad yet.

    Edgbaston will play host to the next meeting on Saturday, with clashes at Cardiff and The Oval to follow before the pair head off to the United States for the T20I tournament in June.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.