YORK City Knights Ladies forward Olivia Wood made her international debut as England beat Wales 32-6 at Pandy Park.

Wood was named in the starting line-up by head coach Craig Richards, alongside fellow Knights Tara Stanley and Grace Field, as England travelled to the home stadium of Cross Keys RFC. Hollie Dodd began the game as an interchange.

Wood defended well as part of a resilient England side that were forced to resist a Wales team that never looked like giving up in the game.

Full-back Stanley looked as though she would score the first try of the game not long after it began, but she was met and stopped by Wales half-back Amberley Ruck who forced a turnover.

Despite missing some early chances, it would not take long for England to gain an advantage in the tie when Leeds Rhinos’ Fran Goldthorp scored a try just eight minutes in.

Not even 10 minutes later, England doubled their lead through Goldthorp’s second try of the game. Stanley was able to make the first of her four conversions in the match to give her country a 10-0 lead.

Amy Hardcastle of St Helens added a third try, unconverted, before Shona Hoyle reaped the rewards of a penalty given 20-metres from goal, diving just right of the posts to give England a 20-0 lead at the half after Stanley converted.

Tara Jones scored just three minutes into the second half to further England’s advantage.

Leanne Burnell scored Wales’ only try of the game from which Ruck converted, though it was apparent the points were a mere consolation by the time they were added.

It would be Knights forward Hollie Dodd that scored the final try of the game which, after a successful conversion, increased the score to 32-6 in England’s favour.

“(It was) a very stop-start game,” reflected England coach Richards after the match.

“There were a few challenging decisions, but the positive thing is it made it a tough game and challenged the girls mentally.

“Going into the World Cup, it’s all about challenge. I’m very pleased.

“The one thing we’ll come away with today is that it answered questions about one or two individuals, the likes of Olivia Wood, who I thought was tremendous.

“She remained calm throughout the game and no matter how much we got penalised, how much we had to defend, she kept turning up.”

England’s next test will be on Saturday, when they face France at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington (3.15pm).

Elsewhere, Knights centre Bettie Lambert started for Ireland in their 30-6 win over Italy at the Rugby Club Pasian di Prato in Udine in the Women’s Euro ‘B’ North.

Forward Alison Coleman launched her country in front with an early, first-half hat-trick from which Ireland rode the momentum.

They had a 24-0 lead by half-time, going on to score only one try in the second half before Italy fired back with a late try and conversion to somewhat lessen the margin of the scoreline.