England (20) 51
Tries: Cowell 2, Bern 2, McDonald 2, Matthews Con: Harrison 4, Rowland Pen: Harrison 2
Canada (12) 12
Try: Farries, Poulin Con: Miller

England’s winning autumn continued as they overpowered a game Canada side to underline their status as the women’s game’s dominant force.

Debutant wing Heather Cowell scored two tries, with prop Sarah Bern powering over for her own double.

Canada fought hard, with Sabrina Poulin and Paige Ferries’ long-range tries reining in England before the break.

But Claudia McDonald scored twice, with Alex Matthews also crossing, as the hosts’ fitness and squad depth told.

Defeat of Canada, ranked third in the world, follows back-to-back record wins over world champions New Zealand over the previous two weekends and extends England’s winning streak to 17 successive Tests.

England coach Simon Middleton will warn his side against any complacency however, given France’s 38-13 win over the Black Ferns on Saturday.

A little over six months ago, England had a far less comfortable afternoon’s work at Twickenham Stoop, with France pushing them all the way in a 10-6 Six Nations decider.

With less than a year to go before the delayed Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the two European superpowers seem furthest ahead in their preparations.

England will attempt to complete a clean sweep of their autumn Tests against the United States in Worcester next Sunday. Victory would mean they match England’s men’s record of 18 successive Test wins between 2015 and 2017.

England come on strong after the break

Heather Cowell
England’s post-match selfie circuit came with genuine smiles after they overwhelmed Canada in the second half

After England’s dismantling of the Black Ferns over the past fortnight, many of the 6,310-strong crowd arrived at Twickenham Stoop anticipating a similar scoreline.

The opening four minutes did nothing to dispel those expectations. England ruthlessly rumbled upfield, before Helena Rowland slung a perfect mispass for Harlequins wing Cowell to mark her debut with a try.

England’s fast and well-drilled defence snuffed out Canada’s attempts to run the rare ball they got their hands on and Zoe Harrison and Sarah McKenna dominated any kicking exchanges.

But, as Middleton predicted before the match, Canada hung tough. And they were duly rewarded. England’s indiscipline helped Canada back into the game with a string of penalties, before their inaccuracies showed the way to the tryline.

Centre Lagi Tuima, in for the impressive Hollie Aitchison, attempted to tip on a ball out wide, but Farries picked off the pass and sprinted under the posts to put Canada ahead after 20 minutes.

Canada’s pack, containing an all-Exeter front row, put the brake on the driven maul that caused so much damage in both England games against New Zealand.

And, after Bern’s try had, perhaps fortunately, survived a video review, Canada closed to within three points as half-time beckoned, with Poulin outpacing Abby Dow into the corner off a slick first-phase move.

Cowell and Bern, both impressive throughout, collected their second tries either side of the interval to ease any rising fears of an upset, though.

And, after scrum-half McDonald sniped over for a try and Harrison landed a long-range penalty, England emptied their bench to great effect.

Canada were pinned in their own 22 by England’s renewed energy, with replacement Matthews’ fresh legs taking her cantering through a gap in midfield to add a sixth try.

In the dying minutes, McDonald darted blind to add her second and give the Stoop scoreboard the sheen it had lacked after 40 minutes.

Player of the match – Sarah Bern

Sarah Bern
A rampaging presence in the loose, Sarah Bern scored two tries and was alive to any pick-and-go opportunities

England: McKenna; Cowell, Tuima, Rowland, Dow; Harrison, MacDonald; Botterman, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Hunter (capt), Kabeya, Cleall.

Replacements: Davies, Cornborough, Muir, Millar-Mills, Matthews, Packer, Infante, Aitchison.

Canada: Alarie; Poulin, Kaljuvee, Tessier, Farries; Belchos de Goede, Miller; DeMerchant, Tuttosi, Menin, Taylor, Holtkamp, Forteza, Paquin, Senft.

Replacements: Russell, Kassil, Ellis, Beukeboom, Buisa, Royer, Pelletier, Gonzalez.

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