Six Nations 2015: Scotland Women 8 Italy Women 31
Maria Magatti shines as Italy brave the elements to run in five tries and condemn the Scots to a 25th successive championship defeat
Two well-taken tries from Monza winger Maria Magatti helped Italy Women to a five-try 31-8 win over Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations at Broadwood Stadium.
Outside-half Veronica Schivon scored a second-half try and landed three conversions in difficult conditions as Cumbernauld was battered by wind, rain and a hailstone deluge at the death.
Both sides went into the match looking for a first win in this year’s championship, but it was Italy who took an early advantage after Scottish indiscipline allowed the visitors to kick for touch.
There was a sense of dejà vu from the men’s match at BT Murrayfield on Saturday as an Italian rolling maul from a lineout edged down the right wing towards the Scottish tryline.
It laid the platform for the first try for Andrea Di Giandomenico’s side as a smart inside pass from Casale scrum-half Sara Barattin sent winger Magatti away under the posts on seven minutes with Riviera Del Brenta outside-half Veronica Schiavon overcoming a strong wind to drop-kick the conversion.
Italian captain Silvia Gaudino had an influential opening quarter and it was her break from the scrum, which set up the second try on 15 minutes as Treviso full-back Manuela Furlan burst through the Scottish defence, easing past her opposite number to go under the posts, and Schiavon landed her second conversion, this time off the tee, to take the score to 14-0.
Despite their poor Six Nations record that has seen them whitewashed in the last four seasons, Jules Maxton’s side showed encouraging signs going forward and should have done better on numerous occasions, but for a lack of composure and a glut of handling errors that regularly halted any progress downfield.
Melrose full-back Chloe Rollie made the most of space to get on a burst for Scotland, but found herself running horizontally as Italy stepped up and held firm, with the chance eventually lost.
Notoriously slow starters, Scotland grew into the match during the second quarter, and when Italy were penalised on 24 minutes, Wasps centre Nuala Deans got the home side on the scoreboard with a penalty from 35 metres, as she did from a similar distance in their last match against Wales.
There was still plenty of time for Italy to add a third try before the break with another good team move started by Gaudino breaking off the back of the scrumm, with Faulan releasing Magatti, who ran round the outside of the Scottish defence untouched to score in the right corner. Schiavon missed a difficult conversion effort into the wind.
At 19-3 down and approaching half-time, Scotland upped their intensity and enjoyed a spell in the Italian half after a neat kick through from winger Hannah Sloan.
Some strong running from Scotland captain Tracy Balmer before a bulldozing effort through the Italian defence from her fellow prop Lisa Robertson got Scotland up to the tryline, but another unfortunate knock-on thwarted their attack.
Highlighting their lack of composure in opposition 22, Scotland found themselves on the attack again in the final minute of the first half, but after some good work by Rollie and outside-half Lisa Martin to send centre Hannah Smith into space, and the Hillhead Jordanhill centre was guilty of cutting back inside when Scotland had numbers out wide and the chance was lost.
Italy started the second half brightly, but were temporarily halted as lock Flavia Severin was yellow carded for going off her feet by referee Helen O’Reilly, who took a dim view of repeated infringements from the visitors.
Scotland made good use of the numerical advantage as a neat offload from Martin to Jade Konkel allowed the number eight to take Scotland up to the Italian 22, but another knock-on again halted another meaningful attack before Smith combined well with winger Abi Evans for a half-break before she was bundled into touch.
Undeterred, Scotland again found themselves in the opposition 22 after some deft short passing, but the impressive handling was short-lived as a knock-on followed.
Italy were briefly down to 13 players when flanker Michela Este was yellow carded for not rolloing away on 54 minutes, but Scotland failed to take advantage from the penalty with Deans’ effort skewed wide to the left of the uprights and the score remained 19-3 approaching the final quarter.
Smith made two impressive breaks through the Italian defence, but was short of support runners allowing Italy to recover, and it wasn’t long before Scotland’s errors were punished when a quick tap penalty led to the fourth try with a great dummy from Magatti catching out the Scottish defence and centre Michela Sillari sent Schiavon through before the Italian 10 converted her own try.
There were further hints of the men’s defeat on 70 minutes when Martin intercepted a pass and raced into the Italy half, but the long-awaited Scotland try-scoring chance went begging as the chance was butchered out wide.
With five minutes remaining Scotland’s first try in a competitive match since their 45-5 defeat to Italy in February 2014 finally arrived as Konkel found her way over the tryline much to the delight of the 500 spectators braving the elements.
With the win already secured, there was still time for a final flourish from the Italians with two minutes to go as Benevento winger Maria Grazia Cioffi produced a superb solo effort to glide through a switched off Scottish defence to score Italy’s fifth try, unconverted by Schiavon.
Scotland now face a very tough ask to avoid a fifth successive whitewash as they travel to Darlington to take on world champions England on Friday 13 March before welcoming 2013 Grand Slam winners Ireland to Broadwood on Sunday 22 March, while Italy will be looking to boost their qualification hopes for the 2017 Rugby World Cup as they host reigning champions France in Badia then Wales in Padua.
Anche le Azzurre conquistano la Scozia. Complimenti a tutte!!! pic.twitter.com/5zD9rPJvFS
— Italrugby (@Federugby) March 1, 2015
Scotland: Chloe Rollie; Hannah Sloan (Eilidh Sinclair, 50′), Hannah Smith, Nuala Deans (Claire Bain, 69′), Abi Evans; Lisa Martin, Sarah Law (Mhairi Grieve, 61′); Lisa Robertson (Lindsey Smith, 66′), Lana Skeldon (Heather Lockhart, 66′), Tracy Balmer (captain) (Katie Dougan, 76′), Christianne Fahey (Deborah McCormack, 41′), Emma Wassell, Rachael Cook, Karen Dunbar (Lyndsay O’Donnell, 61′), Jade Konkel.
Italy: Manuela Furlan (Sofia Stefan, 63′); Maria Grazia Cioffi, Michela Sillari, Beatrice Rigoni (Paola Zangirolami, 68’), Maria Magatti (Federica Cipolla, 78’); Veronica Schiavon, Sara Barattin; Elisa Cucchiella (Awa Coulibaly, 57′), Melissa Bettoni (Lucia Cammarano, 71′), Lucia Gai, Flavia Severin (Valentina Ruzza, 68′), Alice Trevisan (Alessia Pantarotto, 78′), Michela Este (Ilaria Arrighetti, 63′), Elisa Giordano, Silvia Gaudino (captain).
Tries: Magatti (2), Furlan, Schiavon, Cioffi
Cons: Schiavon (3)
Yellow cards: Severin (44′), Este (53′)
Referee: Helen O’Reilly (IRFU)
Player of the match: Maria Magatti (Italy)