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Women's 6N round-up: Wales fight back again, England thrash Italy

Wales Women recorded their first home championship win in three years in front of a record crowd against Scotland in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, while England thrashed Italy in Parma.

Wales Women recorded their first home championship win in three years in front of a record crowd after coming from behind for the second consecutive match to secure a 24-19 victory against Scotland in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

It’s the first time in history that Wales have managed to score 20 or more points in three consecutive games in the Six Nations. The bonus point win also put Wales into second place behind France in the points table.

Wales’ first home game of the championship followed last week’s match in Dublin where Ioan Cunningham’s side went down the tunnel at halftime behind on the scoreboard but a second half comeback ensured Wales left Cardiff Arms Park victorious..

Scotland dominated the early exchanges and hooker Lana Skeldon gave the visitors the perfect start when she burst over from a rolling maul in just the third minute. Helen Nelson’s conversion gave the visitors a 0-7 lead.

Wales struggled to get a foothold into Scottish territory as the visitors recycled the ball at speed to keep the home defence on their toes.

In the opening quarter Wales had already conceded the same number of penalties that they had conceded in their entire match against Ireland in the opening round.

Wales took the direct route to get on the scoreboard in the 22nd minute. The Welsh pack drove forward from a lineout and hooker Carys Phillips dived over to score for the second consecutive match. Keira Bevan’s conversion tied the score up at 7-7.

A shocking bounce of the ball then put Scotland back in front on 32 minutes.

After 23 phases of play where Wales had managed to keep their line intact, Scotland scrum half Jenny Maxwell chipped the ball into the Welsh dead ball area between Kayleigh Powell and Jasmine Joyce. The back bounced awkwardly between the two Welsh defenders and Scotland winger Rhona Lloyd gleefully picked up the pieces. Nelson’s successful conversion put Scotland 7-14 ahead.

Wales went down the tunnel minus Kerin Lake who had been sent to the sin bin moments earlier for not rolling away in the tackle zone.

Scotland burst out of the blocks from the restart. They kept the ball for 12 phases before working Lloyd over for her second try of the match.

Sioned Harries, who had just earlier earned a turnover, then made her presence felt when she burrowed over in the 46th minute. Bevan’s conversion brought Wales back to within five points of Scotland.

After a series of scrums under pressure, Scotland were reduced to 14 players when prop Leah Bartlett received a yellow card.

Immediately Wales struck with replacement hooker Kelsey Jones on the back of a rolling maul levelling the score at 19-19.

But with five minutes remaining Wales hit the lead for the first time after Alisha Butchers burst through the last line of defence and off-loaded to the supporting Ffion Lewis who raced over unopposed.

Scotland hammered away at the Welsh try-line in the dying moments but they coughed up position within millimetres of the try-line and Wales were able to secure the ball and kick to touch to record their second win of the campaign.

Cunningham made a double substitution on the 52nd minute with Kelsey Jones and Sioned Harries replacing Phillips and Natalia John. It appeared a masterstroke when Jones burrowed over but the try was disallowed for blocking in the line-out in the lead-up.

Ireland made Wales pay for giving the ball away cheaply from a quickly taken line-out by Powell which the home side gratefully picked up. Ireland shot down the short side and inside centre Flood scooted over.

Replacement prop Rose, with the assistance of Harries, forced her way over in the 65th minute to ensure a grandstand finish.

Ireland suffered a major blow in the 71st minute when Considine was sent to the sin bin for not rolling away, Wales scented blood and went in for the kill.

Wales battered away at the Irish defence but the women in green held firm until Rose picked her moment and plunged the ball over the line to put Wales in front for the first time in the match. With Robyn Wilkins adding the extras, Wales led 19-22 with five minutes to hold out.

With Ireland trying desperately to hit back, Wilkins made a telling break and timed a pass perfectly to Jones who sped clear to claim a bonus point victory for Wales.


12-try England storm past Italy

The Red Roses ran in 12 tries at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi to beat Italy 74-0 in round two of the TikTok Women's Six Nations.

It marked their twentieth consecutive Test win. 

The Red Roses set a blistering pace to the match, scoring inside the opening four minutes, as Natasha Hunt found Sarah McKenna on the unattended side of a ten metre rolling maul for the easiest of tries. Zoe Harrison added the extras from the touchline. 

Lydia Thompson bagged England's second score ten minutes later, coming off the back of a Vickii Cornborough charge down turnover inside the Italian 22, Helena Rowland pounced on the loose ball and immediately attacked the right flank, sucking in defenders before providing the assist for Thompson to score her 39th international try.

Simon Middleton's charges dominated at set piece, and it was the catalyst behind their third try, a trademark driving maul taken by hooker Lark Davies on the 20-minute mark to make it 17-0.

The forwards continued to shine; Shaunagh Brown powered over from close range moments later for her first international try, and the bonus point score, before Alex Matthews scored in similar fashion as half time neared. Both were successfully converted by Harrison to make it 31-0 at the break.

England's clinical play was clear to see in the half time stats: making 253 more metres, 44 more carries, 94 more passes, while boasting 70% possession.

Thompson crossed for her second try two minutes into the resumption of the match, neat passing found the winger in space, and she rounded Maria Magatti with ease to extend England's lead to 36 points. 

The replacements made immediate impacts as Vicky Fleetwood was the benefactor at the back of another rolling maul try on the 50-minute mark, and Sarah Bern went on a rampaging run from half way, fending off Sara Barattin on her way to England's eighth try, making it 48-0.

The visitors continued to be relentless in attack, and had made 1000 metres by the hour mark. Though Italy were brave and strong around the breakdown, they were unable to deny England out wide, as Emma Sing found out, crossing for a first Test try on her second appearance.

Emily Scarratt entered the game at 66 minutes, and bagged England's tenth try with her first touch at 67 minutes - the score brought up a personal landmark for the centre of 50 Test tries. Rowland's extras made it 62-0.

Italy centre Beatrice Rigoni was shown a yellow card with just nine minutes remaining, and England took immediate advantage of the extra player, scoring a converted McKenna try, before Thompson claimed her hat-trick in the final play to round off a comprehensive 74-0 win.


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