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Women's Six Nations 2024: Marley Packer says England will 'come back stronger' against Wales

Women's Six Nations 2024: Marley Packer says England will 'come back stronger' against Wales

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Marley Packer is yet to lose as England captain

Captain Marley Packer says England will “come back stronger” after winning their opening match in the Women's Six Nations against Italy.

The Red Roses beat Parma 48-0, having played most of the match with 14 men following Sarah Beckett's red card.

After an error-filled first half, the visitors led by just 10-0, but Italy never threatened the try-line.

“[I am] “On top of the world if I'm being honest with you,” Packer, playing her 100th match, told BBC Sport.

“We said as a team that we wanted to get the ball rolling, but there were some little mistakes in the play.

“It is the first match of the tournament, and we will prepare and come back stronger against Wales.”

video caption, Women's Six Nations: Italy 0-48 England – Highlights as the Red Roses win the bonus points

After a disappointing first half, coach John Mitchell's team regained its energy and scored six tries in the second half to achieve a comfortable victory against a team it had beaten by 50 points or more in its last five matches.

Packer, who made her debut for the Red Roses in 2008 against Sweden, became the seventh English player to reach 100 caps.

Winning her 99th cap last November, the 34-year-old was named the 2023 World Rugby Women's Player of the Year after defeating the Black Ferns to claim the inaugural WXV1 title.

Packer, who took over the England national team from Sarah Hunter last year, added: “I want to thank all my friends and family, who all made the trip making it special for me.”

“Everyone had a role to play when I wore this shirt.”

It was Mitchell's first Six Nations match for the Red Roses and before the match he called on his team to play faster and use their talented full-backs. Fullback Ellie Kildon showed all that pace with her solo try to secure England's extra point before finishing with precision to make it two.

“It was a fast track, so I enjoyed it,” Kildon, the man of the match, told BBC Two. “We went into this game asking each other what we wanted from each other. I asked for confidence – the girls gave me bags of confidence. “Confidence oozes through you – you go for things 100%. I couldn't have done it without the other girls around me.”

Wales narrowly lost their opening match to Scotland in Cardiff on Saturday after Lyoko George missed a last-minute conversion that would have given them a draw.

England are bidding for a third successive Grand Slam title and sixth successive Six Nations title and next host Wales at Ashton Gate in Bristol on Saturday.

video caption, Packer is proud of his “very special” 100th cap milestone.
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