The defending champions recovered well from their unscheduled six hour round trip following Saturday night’s decision to move the game from Milan to Recco because of the freezing conditions. And the artificial pitch, a first for a Six Nations match, did not bother them either with Rochelle Clark, Emily Scarratt, Ceri Large, Michaela Staniford, Rachael Burford and Georgina Roberts all crossing for tries. Scarratt also added a penalty try and three conversions.
On the back of last week’s 47-0 victory against Scotland England continue to top the Six Nations table and remain on track to defend their Six Nations Grand Slam crown.
England Head Coach Gary Street said: “We’re delighted to get another win under our belts. The performance was a mixed bag really. Some of our tries were world class and we showed some real brilliance but we also struggled a bit. We tried too hard sometimes with passes going amiss or by making simple mistakes.
“Next up we face Wales at Twickenham in two weeks’ time. We now have a week to iron out some areas of our game as we know Wales will like nothing better than inflicting a win on us on our home turf.”
England were quick to settle into the conditions of the artificial pitch, making an immediate impression. Wing Katherine Merchant went close after two minutes and fullback Scarratt had a chance with the boot but couldn’t convert the penalty.
Only six minutes had passed when England broke their duck when a good line out, catch and drive set up prop Rochelle Clark for the first try of the afternoon. Scarratt, this time, added the conversion, handing England a 7-0 lead.
Scarratt was on the scoreboard again just moments later with her own try. She started off the move with a good counter attack in England’s 22 taking the ball through to the midfield. Buford was tackled to the ground but with La Toya Mason taking a quick tap penalty, England’s forwards took the ball on with Scarratt then finishing off the move. Scarratt then converted her own try to make the score 14-0.
26 minutes in and a solid scrum saw captain Sarah Hunter flick the ball out to scrum half Mason who then recycled out to the wing for Roberts to finish off with ease. This time Scarratt missed the conversion and England then went a player down with Clark sent to the sin bin. Italy’s reward was a penalty, which fly-half Michela Tondinelli converted, but that was all the hosts could manage with England unsettled by Clark’s departure. In fact try number four was soon in the making with fly-half Ceri Large running in for a 34th minute score. Scarratt again converted, handing England a 26-3 lead at half time.
Italy’s determination never faltered though and after the break they defended well to keep anymore scores coming in until 60 minutes had passed. England had run close several times before then and in the end Italy were penalised with a penalty try handed to the visitors which Scarratt converted with ease.
Staniford, a late call-up to England’s squad for this game, then added try number six just before full-time following a move which young flanker Hannah Gallagher had started. Centre Burford then added England’s seventh and final try in extra time to make the final score 43-3.
15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester) 13 Rachael Burford (VC) (Richmond), 12 Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), 11 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 10 Ceri Large (Worcester), 9 La Toya Mason (Wasps), 1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 2 Amy Turner (Richmond), 3 Laura Keates (Worcester), 4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 5 Tamara Taylor(Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 6 Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol), 7 MarliePacker (Bristol), 8 Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield). Replacements: 16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 17Claire Purdy (Wasps), 18 Emily Braund (Lichfield), 19 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), 20 Georgina Rozario (Lichfield), 21 Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 22 Michaela Staniford (Wasps)
Tries: Clark, Scarratt, Roberts, Large, PT (Scarratt), Staniford, Burford
Conversions: Scarratt (3)
Substitutions: Staniford for Merchant (25), Purdy for Noel Smith (39, R HT), Rozario for Mason (HT), Braund for Taylor (HT), McLean for Large (50), Gallagher for Packer (55), Purdy for Clark (66), Fleetwood for Turner (66)
15 VERONICA SCHIAVON (RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 14 M.DILETTA VERONESE (VALSUGANA), 13 M.GRAZIA CIOFFI (BENEVENTO), 12 PAOLA ZANGIROLAMI (VALSUGANA ) (C), 11 MANUELA FURLAN (TREVISO), 10 MICHELA TONDINELLI (TREVISO), 9 SARA BARATTIN (CASALE), 1 ELISACUCCHIELLA (RED&BLU), 2 SARA ZANON (TREVISO), 3 LUCIA GAI (RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 4 FLAVIA SEVERIN (TREVISO), 5 SARA PETTINELLI (CUS ROMA), 6 MICHELA ESTE (TREVISO), 7 GIULIANA CAMPANELLA (RED&BLU), 8 SILVIA GAUDINO (MONZA). Substitutions: 16 ANITA NESPOLI (RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 17 MELISSA BETTONI (RED&BLU), 18 CRISTINA MOLIC (RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 19 BALLARINI DEBORA (PESARO), 20 TREVISAN ALICE (RIVIERA DEL BRENTA), 21 VANESSA CHIANDAMO (MONZA), 22 CHIARA CASTELLARIN (COLORNO)
Half time score:Italy 3 England 26
England’s Six Nations Fixtures:
February 5th 2012, Scotland v England, Lasswade, Edinburgh, WON 47-0
February 12th 2012, Italy v England, Parabiago, Nr Milan, WON 43-3
February 25th, 2012, England v Wales, Twickenham Stadium, KO 615pm
Live on the BBC Red Button and on www.bbc.co.uk/sport. Free entry to the stadium after the men’s Six Nations match.
March 11th, 2012, France v England, Stade Charlety, Paris, KO 1245pm GMT
Live on Sky Sport HD2 Red Button.
March 17th 2012 England v Ireland, Esher RFC, KO 2pm.
Live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive.com. Tickets can be purchased on game day on the gate or online at http://www.esherrugby.com/ticket_sales.html, priced £10 for adults, £5 for Under 16s.