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Scotland back at heart of 6N

Scotland win their second game of the 2017 to cap their best Six Nations for over a decade  – and Italy take the wooden spoon.

After such a long wait, Scotland have learnt to win – at home at least. They could even have finished with three wins at “Fortress Broadwood”, but back-to-back home wins over Wales and now Italy brought an end to a memorable season – and a foundation for more to come.

Yet for most of the first forty minutes it looked like a very different game. The Italians had much the better of the opening exchanges and looked to have set the pattern for the game when a well-set driving maul saw Scotland tumbling backwards from their 22 to within 5m.

That set up Melissa Bettoni to drive over after ten minutes, with Sillari adding the conversion.  Elisa Cucchiella nearly added a second just moments later, spotting a gap using her pace to charge into the Scots 22.  A dropped ball ended that opportunity, but it put Italy back onto the front foot and after eight minutes later Bettoni was on hand again to drive over from a yard out.

Sillari's missed what would be a crucial conversion, but at the time it did not seem to matter as Italy were soon right on the Scots line – before Chloe Rollie burst away on a game-changing counter-attack.

A few minutes later Lisa Thomson saw a half chance, broke through the Italian line before puttingin a perfect kick for Rollie to take and score – with Lana Skeldon putting in a magnificent conversion from the touchline.

Then, right on half-time, Rollie grabbed her second try – set up by Jade Konkel - and Skeldon landed a second excellent conversion. Italy went into the break shell-shocked, a game that had seemed theirs for the taking was suddenly going the other way.

Italy started strongly, with plenty of possession, but Scotland held firm this time, and even finished the stronger. The half saw no addition to the score, but plenty of tension, before the final whistle.

Scotland: Chloe Rollie (Murrayfield Wanderers), Megan Gaffney (Edinburgh University), Lisa Thomson (Edinburgh University), Lisa Martin, capt (Murrayfield Wanderers), Rhona Lloyd (Edinburgh University), Helen Nelson (Murrayfield Wanderers), Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers/Edinburgh University), Tracy Balmer (Worcester), Lana Skeldon (Hillhead Jordanhill), Katie Dougan (Edinburgh University), Emma Wassell (Murrayfield Wanderers), Deborah McCormack (Aylesford Bulls), Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead Jordanhill), Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Jade Konkel (Hillhead Jordanhill).
Replacements: Rachel Malcolm (Lichfield), Heather Lockhart (Hillhead Jordanhill), Lindsey Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill), Sarah Bonar (Lichfield), Lyndsay O'Donnell (Worcester), Jenny Maxwell (Lichfield), Lauren Harris (Melrose), Eilidh Sinclair (Murrayfield Wanderers).

Italy: 15) Manuela FURLAN (R.F.U. Inghilterra, 54 caps); 14) Michela SILLARI (R.F.U. Inghilterra, 33 caps); 13) Maria Grazia CIOFFI (Rugby Colorno, 45 caps ); 12) Sofia STEFAN (Rennes-FFR, 31 caps); 11) Maria MAGATTI (Rugby Monza 1949, 18 caps); 10) Beatrice RIGONI (Valsugana Rugby Padova, 20 caps); 9)  Sara BARATTIN (C) (Villorba Rugby, 71 caps); 8) Elisa GIORDANO (Valsugana Rugby Padova, 20 caps); 7) Lucia CAMMARANO (Asd Rugby Monza 1949, 15 caps); 6) Ilaria ARRIGHETTI (Rennes-FFR, 24 caps); 5) Alice TREVISAN (Rugby Riviera 1975, 38 caps); 4) Isabella LOCATELLI (Rugby Monza 1949, 10 caps); 3) Marta FERRRARI (Rennes, 17 caps); 2) Melissa BETTONI (Rennes-FFR, 34 caps); 1) Elisa CUCCHIELLA (Rugby Belve Neroverdi, 61 caps)
Replacements: 16) Lucia GAI (Valsugana Rugby Padova, 46 caps); 17) Gaia GIACOMOLI (Rugby Colorno F.C., 6 caps); 18) Michela ESTE (Benetton Treviso, 52 caps ); 19) Elisa PILLOTTI (Rugby Parabiago, 9 caps); 20) Valeria FEDRIGHI (Rugby Riviera 1975, 2 caps); 21) Veronica MADIA (Rugby Colorno, 3 capS); 22) Elisa BONALDO (Rugby Colorno, 2 caps); 23) Paola ZANGIROLAMI (Valsugana Rugby Padova, 71 caps)