- Italian win lifts England up to second
- Tries for Scarratt, Reed, Keates and Waterman
Italy 0 England 24
A 24-0 victory over Italy at the Stadio Giulio e Silvio Pagani in Rovato on Sunday handed England Women a second place finish in this season’s Six Nations championship.
With France, hosts of this year’s Rugby World Cup in August, taking the Grand Slam on Friday with victory over Ireland, England knew they had to win today to take second place.
Tries came courtesy of Emily Scarratt, who had another sensational match, full back Danielle Waterman, returning from a 14-month injury lay-off, prop Laura Keates and centre Amber Reed.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “I was really pleased with our defence today, nilling Italy, and also scoring a couple of cracking tries, but as a coach I am never happy and we want to keep moving forward.
“One of the big things is that we have got to work harder on the refereeing interpretation of the breakdown. It is quite different to the way we have been coaching and we need to resolve that. We also lacked execution at times but Italy is a difficult place to come and play and past results for teams like France and Ireland have underlined that.
“We obviously wanted to win the Six Nations but the primary goal is the World Cup this season. What the Six Nations has allowed us to do is play nearly all of the World Cup squad, try out several different combinations and that is going to stand us in good stead in five months’ time.”
England by no means had the run of the show though, especially in the first half when Italy, who had already picked off wins against Wales and Scotland, were rallied on by a vociferous home crowd.
Wing Michela Sillari had Italy’s first chance at some points with a fifth-minute penalty but her kick went just wide and the home side continued to disrupt England, especially at the line-outs.
In the end, however, it was Scarratt, switching from full back to centre for this game, who hushed the crowd with a superb 12th-minute try. After a nicely floated pass from fly half Ceri Large and then centre Amber Reed in the midfield, Scarratt broke loose and fended off four Italians to run 60 metres and dot down in the corner.
Italy’s spirits were never dampened though and they continued to play a strong attacking game. England wingers Katherine Merchant and Natasha Brennan had opportunities thwarted but in the end an excellent delayed pass from Large saw Waterman pounce on the ball and cut a fine line to score in trademark Waterman style. With Scarratt converting, England headed into the break with a 12-0 lead.
England moved into a 17-0 lead soon after the restart with Italy crumbling under pressure at an England line-out. England’s forwards drove well and Keates muscled her way over with relative ease.
England called for re-enforcements from the bench and the results was even more dominance. The visitors had a try held up, and then hooker Mercedes Foy went close before finally England spread the ball out to the right wing and centre Reed took the spoils. Scarratt then added a difficult conversion to take the victory.
15 Danielle Waterman (Bristol)
14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield) VC
12 Amber Reed (Bristol)
11 Natasha Brennan (Richmond)
10 Ceri Large (Worcester)
9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
3 Laura Keates (Worcester)
4 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps)
5 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) C
7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)
8 Rebecca Essex (Richmond)
16 Mercedes Foy (Thurrock),
17 Claire Purdy (Wasps),
18 Sophie Hemming (Bristol),
19 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens),
20 Marlie Packer (Wasps),
21 Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield),
22 Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
23 Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
Tries: Scarratt, Waterman, Keates, Reed
Conversions: Scarratt (2)
Substitutions: Gulliver for Hunt, Purdy for Clark, Thompson for Merchant (all HT), Mclean for Large, Packer for Alphonsi, Gallagher for Hunter (all 63), Foy for Fleetwood, Hemming for Keates (both 60)
15 Manuela Furlan
14 Diletta Veronese
13 Maria Grazia
12 Sofia Stefan
11 Michela Sillari
10 Beatrice Rigoni
9 Sara Barattin
1 Awa Coulibaly
2 Melissa Bettoni
3 Marta Ferrari
4 Cristina Molic
5 Alice Trevisan
6 Michela Este
7 Ilaria Arrighetti
8 Silvia Gaudino
16 Debora Ballarini
17 Lucia Cammarano
18 Irene Campanini
19 Alessia Pantarotto
20 Valentina Ruzza
21 Maria Magatti
22 Monica Bruno
23 Chiara Buongiorno
Referee: Marlize Jordaan
Assistant referees: Doranna De Carlini & Barbara Guastini
England’s Six Nations fixtures & results:
Saturday, February 1: France 18 England 6, Stade des Alpes
Sunday, February 9: Scotland 0 England 63, Aberdeen Grammar, Aberdeen
Saturday, February 22: England 17 Ireland 10, Twickenham Stadium
Friday, March 7: England 35 Wales 3
Sunday, March 16: Italy 0 England 24