Women’s Six Nations 2024: England will continue playing ‘on the edge’ despite red cards

England have scored the most tries, made the most metres and conceded the fewest points in this year’s Women’s Six Nations, writes BBC Sport.

John Mitchell’s side are topping all the required stats needed to secure a third successive Grand Slam and a sixth successive title.

But the Red Roses also lead the way in an area where they certainly do not want to be top of the charts.

Amy Cokayne’s red card against Scotland was England’s second in their three victories, with no other side having a player sent off.

But Mitchell believes his side are topping all the match-winning stats because they play on the edge.

Will this mean they cross the line occasionally? Yes. Is this a problem for Mitchell? No.

“We are certainly not going to go away from the edge as it is what drives us and is what the game is all about,” said Mitchell. 

“I want us to continue to play on the edge, but also want us to be aware of how we need to change our behaviour.”

Bench impact can make the difference

On Saturday, England welcome Ireland to Twickenham in front of an expected crowd of more than 45,000.

“There are 47,000 in Twickenham from what I have been told and we want to put on a show,” England scrum-half Mo Hunt said.

The Red Roses were in ruthless mood in Edinburgh last week – even with a player down – and five of England’s eight tries came from the back three of Jess Breach, Abby Dow and Ellie Kildunne.

Unleashing their attacking talent remains Mitchell’s core philosophy and has resulted in full-back Kildunne scoring six tries this Six Nations. She also tops the stats for line breaks (seven) and metres made (342).

The team’s faster playing style requires extra levels of energy in both attack and defence, and the replacements will be pivotal as starters begin to tire.

The return of 109-cap Emily Scarratt on the bench for her first game since the opening victoryover Italy could help the hosts maintain pressure on Ireland.

“I am looking for our bench to have more impact and continue the momentum, and I feel we possibly haven’t got that right in recent weeks,” Mitchell said.

“I know individually the girls are doing their best to impress, but when you are given that role it is about connections and having an impact as a group.”