England triumphant in Women’s Six Nations

Sadia Kabeya in action for Lightning.

England Women held off a brave fightback from France to claim a fifth successive Six Nations title this weekend in front of 58,498 fans at Twickenham.

The Red Roses eventually ran out 38-33 winners as Loughborough Lightning stars Morwenna Talling, Sadia Kabeya, and Helena Rowland all played a vital role in another iconic Grand Slam victory.

After a nervous start, England soon found their feet to lead their third-ranked opponents 33-0 at half time. France rallied in the second period, but England’s quality shone through with Kabeya awarded player of the match.

Speaking in her latest column for BBC Sport, the 21-year-old said: “We lost the World Cup final to New Zealand at Eden Park and ever since then our sights have been set on getting the Grand Slam in the Six Nations.

“The celebrations on Saturday night were definitely a different vibe to that night in Auckland.

“Everybody could finally breathe with relief. To end such a successful tournament with a trophy was the cherry on top.

“There were a lot of nerves around the whole camp with it being a record-breaking crowd and the Grand Slam decider.

“As soon as the whistle goes, nerves go out the window. Reflecting on past games, I think I must be someone who plays well under pressure.

“It has not sunk in yet that I won player of the match on Saturday. I came off the field at 70 minutes and felt like I had been on the pitch for 100 years.

“I just hoped I had done my best. When they put me up on the big screen to announce I was player of the match, I was very grateful but also very awkward knowing 58,000 people were watching me.

In Simon Middleton’s final game in charge of England, Kabeya had nothing but praise for the head coach: “I only have positive things to say about him and hopefully he goes on to do even better things.

“There is a lot of excitement about who might be our next coach. It is a new era with a home World Cup on the horizon in 2025.

“The squad is regenerating with a lot of new faces and having a new coach will make things even more exciting going into our next phase.

“We are excited to get stuck in with them and see where they can take us.”

In total, twelve Lightning players played for their country at this year’s Six Nations tournament, representing England, Wales, and Scotland respectively.