Simon Middleton hailed Poppy Cleall as one of the best players in the world after she led the English to a Six Nations win over Scotland. The English got their title defence off to the best possible start with a 53-10 thumping of neighbours Scotland. Marlie Packer, Leanne Riley, Lark Davies, Bryony Cleall, Helena Rowland and Poppy Cleall all got their names on the scoresheet with Hannah Smith scoring the only try for the Scottish in the second half. Loose forward Poppy Cleall stole the show by making 115 metres through 19 carries and had a direct hand in two tries.
“There’d have to be a pretty good player to be better than her,” Middleton said. “I think her all-around game is pretty sensational and the impact she consistently has in games suggests so [she’s the best player in the world right now].”
Middleton despite the convincing win was left disappointed in the second-half display with England managing to add just 19 points to their tally at half time. They also conceded a number of penalties which led to two yellow cards.
“First half, I was really pleased,” Middleton added. “I think we got ourselves into a position where we wanted to be but it just became a really fractious game in the second half. I think we lost our focus and we lost our rhythm.”