Captain Emily Rudge bags brace and record as England Women crush France

Captain Emily Rudge scored a try in each half as England Women extended their unbeaten record against France with a 40-4 victory in the women’s Test in Perpignan on Saturday.

Sunday, 24th October 2021, 9:48 am

After a scrappy opening, the visitors seized control of the contest with three tries in the last 15 minutes of the first half through centre Amy Hardcastle, substitute Paige Travis and second rower Rudge.

Stand-off Jodie Cunningham took a return pass from Rudge, pictured below, within a minute of the restart to extend the lead and, as the French began to tire, Rudge claimed her second try and hooker Tara Jones and Leeds Rhinos winger Caitlin Beevers also crossed.

Afterwards Cunningham paid tribute to captain Rudge, who earned a record-breaking 24th England cap.

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England captain Emily Rudge drives for the try line. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com.

“Emily is a great leader for us on and off the field,” said Cunningham. “Breaking the record for England appearances is special, and it’s brilliant that she marked it with two more tries.”

England coach Craig Richards was proud of his team’s display. He said: “I don’t know about comfortable – it didn’t look it sat up there – but I will never knock my team in terms of energy, grit and a performance we should be proud of, especially in defence.

“A few things in attack we can work on, but I will never fault that team.

“We talked about they would front-load their energy, they did that in parts, but we never lost belief and kept turning up for each other, we changed one or two things in the middle, but France are a good, tough side in an intimidating atmosphere.”

England players celebrate Paige Travis' try against France. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com.