Emily Scarratt reaches England for half a century in Italy’s Women’s Six Nations defeat
Lydia Thompson’s hat-trick helped England beat Italy 74-0 in Parma to extend their record unbeaten streak to 20 games with a second successive win over TikTok Women’s Six Nations.
The defending champions are chasing a fourth consecutive championship and Simon Middleton’s Red Roses were far too strong for their opponents, scoring 12 tries in total at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
Thompson scored three goals with fellow winger Sarah McKenna picking up a double-and-a-half try from scrimmage and player of the match Natasha Hunt dictating the tempo throughout.
After beating Scotland 57-5 last week, England’s victory is mouth-watering in a mouth-watering clash against fellow unbeaten Wales in their first home game of the Championship.
England got off to a fast start as the rolling maul set the platform and scrum-half Hunt fed McKenna who entered intact on the wing from the blind side in four minutes.
Zoe Harrison’s conversion put the Red Roses seven points clear, but despite dominating possession, Middleton’s side faced a stubborn Italian defence.
Eventually the early pressure revealed as Vickii Cornborough’s charge put England on the front foot and left Italy scrambling before Helena Rowland’s pass allowed Thompson to dive into the corner for his 39th try international.
After a try for both wingers, England’s powerful attacking group came on as Italy breached and the Red Roses kicked into the corner, with hooker Lark Davies applying the finishing touch to a another unstoppable maul.
That extended the lead to 17 with Harrison unable to add the extras, but that mattered little when prop Shaunagh Brown marked his return to the starting XV by crashing for the bonus points try on 28 minutes .
Harrison found his kicking boots to score a goal from the touchline and seven minutes later impressive flanker Alex Matthews got the upper hand from close range as his fifth run of the game brought England’s fifth try .
Harrison kicked off the conversion to give England a 31-0 lead after 35 minutes and despite stunning runs from center Beatrice Rigoni in midfield, the Red Roses kept the home side without goal before the break.
McKenna’s delayed pass sent Thompson away for his second try of the afternoon in northern Italy as the Red Roses came out of the blocks early in the second half.
One of England’s experienced substitutes, Vicky Fleetwood, was next to come through the whitewash after another rolled maul proved too heavy for the Italian field.
Sarah Bern immediately announced her arrival on the pitch by executing a searing try from the halfway line after Hunt found her with a kick through the back door after capitalizing on an overturned Italian lineout.
Ellie Kildunne was replaced by Emma Sing at full-back and the substitute hit all the right notes on her second cap, crossing for her first attempt for the Red Roses to up England’s 50 against a tiring Italian defence.
Last year’s Championship leading scorer Emily Scarratt got in on the act, scoring England’s tenth try a minute after coming on.
Fly-half Harrison showed off her footballing skills to break through the Italian backline with precise grubber that allowed her teammate to collect and point into the dead ball zone for her Red Roses 50th score.
Scarratt then came into action with a crash ball into midfield and when Rigoni failed to pull away from the resulting ruck she was doomed, paying the price in a constant series of penalties.
McKenna scored his second try as England made the most of their power play before Thompson completed his hat trick with the game’s final action to wrap up a convincing triumph.
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