Two Tries But Scots Edged In Rovigo

Brilliant scores from wingers Lauren Harris and Sarah Dixon drew much applause from the Italian crowd - of over 1500 - but, together with a conversion from centre Lisa Ritchie, weren't enough to seal a first win for the Scots in this RBS 6 Nations, the Italian hosts running out 29-12 winners in Rovigo this afternoon.

Head coach Karen Findlay said: "It's never pleasurable losing but we secured two good tries out in the wide channel, by Sarah Dixon on one wing and Lauren Harris on the other. 

"It was really important for our players to see that if you execute properly, that's what the outcome can be so I was delighted for the two individuals concerned and that the rest of the team got points on the board. The problem was that we picked up the tempo but it was 55 minutes in and, until then, we'd given too much ball away, so that was a big frustration."

Listen to Karen talk about the match below

 
 
It was the considerably bulkier Italian pack that made most impact in the first half, the opening try coming for the home side after just eight minutes when centre Manuela Furlan touched down in the corner, the conversion coming up short. The Scots regrouped and tried hard to stem the flow of Italian attack but too many missed passes and turnover ball led to a second Italian five-pointer, after 20 minutes, from flanker Michela Este.
 
A burst from Scotland held off the attack and looked like holding the score at 10-0 at half time but a minute before the whistle scrum half Vanessa Chindamo scraped over the whitewash, the extras this time added successfully by established stand-off Veronica Schiavon.
 
HT - 17-0
 
Head coach Findlay had clearly had words at half time as there was renewed vigour in the Scots' attack however it was the home side that scored next, their fourth try coming from a well-worked line break by winger Chiara Castellarin, Schiavon again converting successfully.
 
A flurry of substitutions for the Scots added fresh legs to the fray and on 62 minutes Lauren Harris set off at pace up the wing, successfully swerving past all in her path, to take the angle and dot down between the posts for Scotland's first try of the championship - a brilliant individual effort that drew unbridled applause from the home support. Substitute stand-off Lise Ritchie successfully slotted the ball between the uprights to make it 24-7.
 
Less than ten minutes later a similar break from the line saw winger Sarah Dixon charge down the channel and outpace all in her path to cross for her second international try and Scotland's second of the championship - this time Ritchie's conversion attempt was just pulled wide.
 
The Scots looked an altogether different side in the second period of the second half, a performance that wasn't lost on the Italians who cheered and encouraged at every turn - especially when slight full back Stephanie Johnston almost ruled herself out after a thunderous tackle on Italian lock Severin, easily twice her size, which drew a standing ovation from the home support.
 
With minutes to go before the final whistle, focus slipped and the Italians surged through for try number five, from substitute Cristina Molic, nudging the gap to 17 points.
 
Though improving by the minute, the clocked eventually ticked over for the Scots leaving the final score 29-12.
 
Scotland Women v Italy Women on Sunday 18 March at Rovato Stadium, Brescia, kick-off 2.30pm (local)/ 1.30pm GMT

15 Stephanie Johnston (RHC Cougars)
14 Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers)
13 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
12 Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers)
11 Sarah Dixon (Stirling County)
10 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars)
9 Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars)

1 Tracy Balmer (Worcester)
2 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers)
3 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers)
4 Anna Swan (RHC Cougars)
5 Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
6 Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond)
7 Tess Forsberg (Richmond)
8 Susie Brown (Richmond) (captain)

Substitutes
16 Alison Macdonald (RHC Cougars) (on for Quick, 63m)
17 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill) (on for Dickens, 48m)
18 Katherine Muir (Richmond) (on for Swan, 73m)
19 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers) (on for Forsberg, 63m)
20 Mary Lafaiki (Cartha QP) (on for Wheeler)
21 Lisa Ritchie (Carlisle) (on for Martin, 22m)
22 Lauren Harris (Melrose) (on for Green, 48m)
 
Scotland Women's RBS 6 Nations fixtures

Sunday 5 February, Scotland 0 - 47 England
Sunday 12 February, Wales 20 - 0 Scotland, Cross Keys RFC
Saturday 25 February, Scotland 0 - 23 France, Stirling County RFC
Friday 9 March, Ireland 20 - 0 Scotland, Ashbourne RFC
Sunday 18 March, Italy 29 - 12 Scotland, Rovato Stadium, Brescia