Wales Women too strong for Sweden

(IRB.COM) Saturday 28 November 2009
 Wales Women too strong for Sweden
Non Evans played a starring role for Wales Women - Photo: Huw Evans

Non Evans crossed for two tries in a 21-point haul as Wales Women ran riot against Sweden at St Helens on Saturday, scoring nine tries to win 56-7 and kick-start their preparations for Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 in style.

The full back has been playing international rugby for more than a decade and produced another vintage performance as she proved a constant threat to Sweden with the ball in hand.

Evans was not the only player to cross for a brace, Caryl James marking her international debut with a double before replacement Awen Thomas touched down twice late on to bring up the half century for Wales.

Wales were always in control against stubborn opposition, who will themselves be competing at Women's Rugby World Cup in England next year, and scored four first half tries to lead 27-7 at the break.

Evans opened the scoring with a penalty and then converted Gemma Hallett's try to give Wales a 10-0 advantage in as many minutes, the second row powering over after some good work by Elinor Snowsill, James and captain Mellissa Berry.

Sweden hit back quickly, winning a lineout close to the Welsh try-line before captain Ulrika Anderson Hall spotted a gap and sped over under the posts, giving herself a straightforward conversion to cut the deficit to only three points.

Late flurry for Wales

Wales repelled further Swedish attacks before extending their lead in the 24th minute when the ball was worked to wing James, who scorched down the touchline, bouncing off would-be tacklers to dive over for her first try.

The home side then enjoyed a purple patch just before half time to make the scoreboard reflect their dominance. First Evans was on the shoulder of fly half Snowsill and bumped off several tacklers to touch down.

Minutes later Louise Rickard, a veteran of more than 100 international caps, finished off strongly in the opposite corner as Wales whipped the ball swiftly through the backline. Evans's touchline conversion gave Wales a comfortable 27-7 lead at the interval.

A combination of stubborn Swedish defence and the inability to be capitalise on the lion's share of possession ensured the second half took some time to take off for Wales, but three tries in quick succession put the result beyond doubt.

Replacement wing Aimee Young powered her way over out wide after prop Catrin Edwards took a quick tap to unnerve the Swedish defence. The ball was spun through the backs where Young used her strength to surge over.

Young was to the fore again, cutting through the defence like a hot knife through butter. She beat three defenders before unselfishly off-loading to Evans who strolled over for her second try.

Replacement fly half Thomas then darted over from close range, Evans adding the conversion. Thomas then completed the scoring, crashing over in the last act of the game.

Tries: Gemma Hallett, Caryl James (2), Non Evans (2), Louise Rickard, Aimee Young, Awen Thomas (2)
Conversions: Evans (4)
Penalties: Evans

Try: Ulrika Anderson Hall
Conversion: Ulrika Anderson Hall