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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Monday, February 5th 2018

Bristol Ladies pair help Red Roses to emphatic victory over Italy

Caity Mattinson and Izzy Noel-Smith both featured as England Women opened their 2018 Six Nations campaign with a bonus-point win against Italy in Reggio Emilia.

The Bristol Ladies pair came off the bench as the Red Roses ran in seven tries in a 42-7 victory.

Sarah Bern crossed off the back of an impressive driving maul for England to open the scoring after six minutes, but Italy were level just before half-time when Valentina Ruzza went over from close range, as the game was finely poised at 7-7. 

England though pulled away after the break with fly half Katy Daley-Mclean's simple penalty starting the scoring as the Red Roses regained the lead.

Captain Sarah Hunter was at the back of another maul and collapsed over the line, before Poppy Cleall finished a flowing move on the right for England's third.

Abigail Dow scored her sixth try in three caps for the bonus-point score, Hunter's second came off a powerful short run, Ellie Kildunne burst through for the sixth before Hunter scored her hat-trick off the back of a disrupted scrum.

"We changed it at half time, and it didn't take a lot, it was just getting the team to understand that everything going wrong was our doing and we just had to look after the ball better, create continuity to break up their defence up a little bit."

Head coach, Simon Middleton

“It was not the start we wanted, we were too ill-disciplined in certain areas of the game and we forced the play too much, we made too many errors and didn’t really establish any continuity," said England head coach Simon Middleton.

“We changed it at half time, and it didn’t take a lot, it was just getting the team to understand that everything going wrong was our doing and we just had to look after the ball better, create continuity to break up their defence up a little bit. Then just have a bit more patience and be more clinical in their 22 when we got there, and we did – we were fantastic in the second half.

"There are some really good lessons in there for us as a team and individuals.”

England: 15 Ellie Kildunne, 14 Abigail Dow, 13 Lauren Cattell, 12 Rachael Burford, 11 Danielle Waterman, 10 Katy Daley-Mclean, 9 Leanne Riley; 1 Rochelle Clark, 2 Lark Davies, 3 Sarah Bern, 4 Abbie Scott, 5 Tamara Taylor, 6 Poppy Cleall, 7 Marlie Packer, 8 Sarah Hunter (c).
Replacements: 16 Amy Cokayne, 17 Vickii Cornborough, 18 Justine Lucas, 19 Rowena Burnfield, 20 Izzy Noel-Smith21 Caity Mattinson, 22 Zoe Harrison, 23 Charlotte Pearce.

Italy: 15 Manuela Furlan, 14 Sofia Stefan, 13 Michela Sillari, 12 Beatrice Rigoni, 11 Maria Magatti, 10 Veronica Madia, 9 Sara Barattin; 8 Isabella Locatelli, 7 Elisa Giordano, 6 Ilaria Arrighetti, 5 Valeria Fedrighi, 4 Valentina Ruzza, 3 Lucia Gai, 2 Melissa Bettoni, 1 Eleonora Ricci.
Replacements: 16 Silvia Turani, 17 Giorgia Durante, 18 Michela Merlo, 19 Giordana Duca, 20 Beatrice Veronese, 21 Arianna Corbucci, 22 Jessica Busato, 23 Aura Muzzo.

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