England 76 Italy 6
Gary Street’s side ran in a massive 12 ties to claim their second win on the bounce as they stay on track in their bid to win a third and unprecedented Glam Slam win in six nations history.
Saracens fullback Charlotte Barras, Clifton wing Danielle Waterman and Worcester wing Katherine Merchant all claimed braces of tries, while Henley prop Rochelle Clark, Saracens flanker Maggie Alphonsi, Wasps wing Michaela Staniford and Wasps forwards Jane Leonard and Jo McGilchrist also claimed touchdowns. Between fly-halves Alice Richardson and Katy McLean, they kicked eight conversions and 16 points.
Italy, however, were the team to draw first blood and did so with a drop goal from fly-half Veronica Schiavon after just three minutes. The early points on the board didn’t rattle England though and prop Clark got the tourist off the mark with an 8th minute try after a quick tap penalty saw scrum-half Amy Turner set-up Clark who ploughed her way over the line. Richardson converted.
On ten and 22 minutes Barras claimed her two touchdowns, which saw the Saracens fullback take an excellent solo score while Sarah Beale set her up for her second.
On 28 minutes Saracens’ Maggie Alphonsi claimed her first try of the season when Staniford off-loaded to Claire Allan and then Alphonsi who ran in easily for a great support try. Richardson again converted.
Waterman claimed the first of her two tries on 30 minutes before Staniford handed England a 40-3 lead at half-time when a perfectly executed Richardson cross-field kick saw the Wasps winger gather up and touch down.
Italy clawed back a penalty immediately after the restart when England were a player down with the sin-binning of Waterman, but with the defending champions pulling on the reserves, making six changes at once, the fresh legs soon paid dividends.
Super-sub Merchant claimed the first of her two tries which saw her score from 50 metres out on her first touch of the ball and also out-class three of Italy’s defenders. McLean then converted.
Wasps and Army player Leonard then had her chance when the ball, after several phases of play, was offloaded by Katy Storie to Leonard to score on 57 minutes.
Just moments later and Massarella had her chance on 61 minutes when the ball was kept alive through contact and Leonard unselfishly set-up the Saracens fullback. McLean again converted.
Another substitute Jo McGilchrist then claimed her first score after an excellent finish form 30 metres out, before Merchant and Waterman finished off proceedings with their second tries to record a 76-6 win on Italian soil.
England Head Coach Street said: “This is a really pleasing performance that saw several flashes of excellent play. What was especially pleasing was the continuity of play which kept the ball alive and enabled us to score so many tries.
“Again, we made some errors which we must improve on but after a closely fought game against the Italian a year ago I am really pleased with this result.”
1 Sophie Hemming (Clifton), 2 Amy Garnett (Saracens), 3 Rochelle Clark (Henley), 4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 5 Sarah Beale (Leos), 6 Karen Jones (Richmond), 7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens), 8 Catherine Spencer (C) (Worcester), 9 Amy Turner (Richmond), 10 Alice Richardson (Richmond), 11 Danielle Waterman (Clifton), 12 Rachael Burford (Saracens), 13 Claire Allan (Saracens), 14 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 15 Charlotte Barras (Saracens). Replacements: Samantha Dale (Worcester), 17 Katy Storie (Blaydon), 18 Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), 19 Jane Leonard (Wasps/Army), 20 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 21 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 22 Victoria Massarella (Saracens). Head Coach Gary Street, Assistant Coach Graham Smith.
Tries: Clark, Barras (2), Alphonsi, Waterman (2), Staniford, Merchant (2), Leonard, Masseralla, McGilchrist.
Conversions: Richardson (5), McLean (3)
Substitutions: Leonard for Alphonsi, McLean for Richardson, Storie for Clark, Massarella for Barras, Merchant for Staniford, McGilchrist for Spencer (all 52 mins), Dale for Garnett (61).
1 SANFILIPPO MARIA (RED & BLU RUGBY RUGBY ASD), 2 CUCCHIELLA ELISA (UTENSILERIA LE LUPE PIACENZA), 3 SEVERIN FLAVIA (BENETTON RUGBY TREVISO), 4 BARBINI MARTINA (SITAM RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 5 FABBRI LARA (ASD RUGBY MONZA 1949), 6 CAMPANELLA GIULIANA (ASD GRAZIA DELEDDA CAGLIARI), 7 PETTINELLI SARA (RED & BLU RUGBY RUGBY ASD), 8 GAUDINO SILVIA (ASD RUGBY MONZA 1949), 9 SCHIAVON VALENTINA (SITAM RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 10 SCHIAVON VERONICA (SITAM RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 11 MARIANI ANNA (RED & BLU RUGBY RUGBY ASD), 12 ZANGIROLAMI PAOLA (SITAM RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 13 PIZZATI SILVIA (SITAM RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 14 CARLET FEDERICA (BENETTON RUGBY TREVISO), 15 TONDINELLI MICHELA (BENETTON RUGBY TREVISO), 16 MESTRINER ALESSANDRA (L'ORSO RUGBY CLUB ASD), 17 CERADINI VERONICA (SITAM RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 18 PETESE GRETA (ASD RUGBY MONZA 1949), 19 STEFAN LICIA (BENETTON RUGBY TREVISO), 20 GINI DANIELA (RED & BLU RUGBY RUGBY ASD), 21 BRATUSCH GIULIA (ASD CIDIESSE RUGBY PESARO), 22 PAGLI SAMANTHA (UTENSILERIA LE LUPE PIACENZA).
Penalties: ZANGIROLAMI PAOLA
Drop Goals: SCHIAVON VERONICA
Referee: Leighton Hodges
England RBS 6 Nations Fixtures
February 2nd England v Wales, London Irish RFC, Sunbury KO 230pm WON 55-0
February 9th Italy v England, Stadio Tre Fontane, Rome, KO 230pm local time WON 76-6
February 23rd France v England, Bergerac, nr Agen, KO 4pm local time
March 8th Scotland v England Meggetland Stadium, Edinburgh KO12pm
March 15th England v Ireland, London Irish RFC, Sunbury KO 445pm