England scrumhalf gets away with clear strike on Ireland's Michelle Claffey
"Ohhh, there's the punch that Nichola Fryday was talking about."
Ireland did such a good job of frustrating England, at Welford Road this afternoon, that Leanne Infante actually sunk to swinging for Michelle Claffey.
It took several replays for the match officials to see what all the TV viewers had, during the live broadcast, but even when they did, it was decided that a penalty was enough.
England are the Six Nations favourites and are set for a championship decider against France, next weekend. They need to hurdle Ireland first and were held to just 10 points in a hard-fought first half.
England scored two tries but missed both conversion attempts, while Nicole Cronin missed for Ireland with a simple penalty attempt.
As the half wound down, England scrumhalf Leanne Infante took a quick-tap when her side was awarded a penalty in the shadow of the Irish posts. The referee called play back, but Michelle Claffey was not to know and dived in to try and dislodge the ball from Infante.
It led to the frustrated Infante striking the face of Claffey. It was no haymaker, but it was definitely a card-able offence.
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) April 24, 2022
Leanne Infante escapes card for strike
Ireland captain Nichola Fryday brought the strike to the attention of the referee, while England's Sarah Hunter wanted Neve Jones punished for her reaction to the Leanne Infante strike on Claffey.
It took a couple of minutes to sort out the situation, but the referee eventually decided to reverse the penalty against Ireland and award it to the visitors.
Leanne Infante and Neve Jones, who was coming to aid Claffey, both avoided further sanctions. The referee and TMO agreed that it was not a punch but a 'push off the face'.
That is an absolute cop out from the ref. I'm sorry, if you strike someone in the face surely that's a card? #TikTokW6N
— Jenny Murphy (@jennymurphy045) April 24, 2022
"I think she got away with one," said Fiona Hayes, in the Virgin Media Sport studios during the half-time analysis.
England ran in 59 second half points to secure their place atop the 2022 TikTok Women's Six Nations standings. The Red Roses scored 10 tries after the break.
Lydia Thompson, Lark Davies and Ellie Kildunne all scored two tries apiece as England set up a Six Nations decider against France, next weekend.