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12 try England too much for Italy

Four tries from Abby Dow helped the Red Roses topple Italy 68-5 in the second round of the Six Nations.

Report: England Rugby

In front of 12,947 fans at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens, Dow's efforts were in addition to a Jess Breach hat-trick, two from Claudia MacDonald and Marlie Packer and one for Tatyana Heard, that saw off a persistent Italy side, whose only points came via Sara Tounesi.

Breach struck inside the opening two minutes, after England stretched the Italian defence from touchline to touchline - Aitchison conducting the pace of play before providing the miss-pass assist. The fly-half was also on hand to convert the effort making it 7-0.

Italy’s response was immediate however, as they forced a penalty from the restart and kicked into the corner. Second row Tounesi powered over the hosts' line off the back of a dominant five-metre rolling maul cutting the deficit to two.

England’s second came on the eight-minute mark, as Breach collected a pinpoint Aitchison cross-field kick before tipping it back inside to the supporting Dow who went over, as Simon Middleton's charges took complete control of the Test.

Not to be outdone by her fellow backs MacDonald sprang into life, and claimed the next two tries. The first, on 17 minutes, saw her pierce through the Azzurre line from halfway, handing off Michela Sillari to power through a gap and accelerate into the corner. Her second secured the bonus point and came as a result of Lagi Tuima putting Sarah Bern through a gap, before the prop provided the easiest of walk-ins for the winger. 

Breach bagged the Red Roses' fifth on the stroke of half time with a neat finish in the corner to make it 27-5 at the break. The half time stats showed England's dominance, as they carried for 280 more metres and made 60 more carries, as well as controlling possession and territory.

The Red Roses picked up where they left off at the resumption, as Heard got on the scoreboard within six minutes, the centre brushed off prop Lucia Gai to go under the sticks, setting up a simple conversion for Tuima, and extending the lead to 29 points.

And shortly after Dow completed her hat-trick in the space of three minutes - dotting down in the same corner on both occasions - the second of which she started in her own half, breezing down the flank before stepping her opposite number Aura Muzzo. Substitute Emma Sing was handed the kicking duties, and converted one of the touchline efforts to make it 46-5.

Middleton's charges began to run riot in the final quarter, as Breach confirmed her hat-trick as the hour passed, and captain Packer got in on the action - powering over from close range. In doing so she became the Red Roses' top try-scoring forward of all time, overtaking Gill Burns. With 10 minutes left in the Test, Dow claimed her fourth, and Packer grabbed another - her 37th England try - to confirm an impressive 68-5 win.


15. Abby Dow, 14. Jessica Breach, 13. Lagi Tuima, 12. Tatyana Heard, 11. Claudia MacDonald, 10. Holly Aitchison, 9. Lucy Packer, 1. Mackenzie Carson, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Catherine O'Donnell, 5. Delaney Burns, 6. Sadia Kabeya, 7. Marlie Packer (C), 8. Zoe Aldcroft (VC).
16. Lark Davies, 17. Liz Crake, 18. Kelsey Clifford, 19. Sarah Beckett, 20. Emily Robinson, 21. Ella Wyrwas, 22. Sarah McKenna, 23. Emma Sing


15. Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi, 14. Aura Muzzo, 13. Michela Sillari, 12. Beatrice Rigoni, 11. Sofia Stefan, 10. Veronica Madia, 9. Sara Barattin, 1. Gaia Maris, 2. Vittoria Vecchini, 3. Lucia Gai, 4. Sara Tounesi, 5. Giordana Duca, 6. Francesca Sgorbini, 7. Giada Franco, 8. Elisa Giordano (C).
16. Emanuela Stecca, 17. Alice Cassaghi, 18. Sara Seye, 19. Valeria Fedrigh, 20. Isabella Locatelli, 21. Emma Stevanin, 22. Jessica Busato, 23. Beatrice Capomaggi.