The Red Roses are back on top of the world and skipper Emily Scarratt heaped praise on their strength in depth after a comfortable 33-10 win over France at Stade des Alpes, writes Jacob Newbury.
Tries from Amy Cokayne, Alex Matthews and Jess Breach and Scarratt's boot helped Simon Middleton's side to victory in Grenoble.
Simon Middleton’s side showed exactly why they are Six Nations champions as they took a 1-0 lead in a two-Test series against the French, rounded off with a reverse fixture at Twickenham next week.
“We were conscious of our success against France coming into the match and wanted to keep hold of that,” said Scarratt, after securing her sixth win against France in as many matches.
“We put in a proper good shift today. We had a lot of youngsters playing and it’s a tough place to come play away, even without a crowd.
“We have a lot of people back at home who would have wanted to be involved, but it was a real squad effort.
“I am fortunate to play with some great players. We’re a proud rugby nation and go about our business so we can be the best we can possibly be.
England produced an explosive start in sunny Grenoble, converting their early dominance with hooker Cokayne powering over from a line-out maul.
France’s disjointed beginning favoured the visitors but the Red Roses were unable to take advantage of further chances early on.
However, the hosts soon found their rhythm and made England pay as Gaelle Hermet crossed over from close range to peg France level.
Les Bleuets then compounded the score withCaroline Drouinslotting three points off the tee to give the hosts the lead.
England, however, responded immediately through player-of-the-match Scarratt's trusty boot to level the scores at 10-10 before the half-time interval.
The second period began in similar fashion to the first with England adding to their score after Matthews carved through the French defence and dotted down for her team’s second try of the afternoon.
It was not long until they registered a third with Breach breaking from inside her own half, using all of her blistering pace to touch down and increase England’s lead to 24-10.
Scarratt’s accuracy off the tee cemented a triumphant England victory with three successful penalty kicks towards the end, keeping her conversion rate at 100%.