Scotland Women V Italy Women
Scotland Women defeated Italy 14-12 at Broadwood Stadium to secure their second win in this year’s Women’s Six Nations.
It follows a 15-14 victory against Wales at home and marks the first time they’ve won two Six Nations matches since 2006.
Scotland, who have not beaten Italy since 2009, came from behind after a slow start but went into the break with a two-point lead thanks to two tries from player of the match Chloe Rollie and on the mark kicking by hooker Lana Skeldon.
Hooker Melissa Betoni also crossed the whitewash on two occasions for Italy, but a missed conversion meant Scotland were able to nudge ahead and hold onto the lead as neither side scored after the break.
RUN OF PLAY
Scotland were slow to get into the game against a firing Italian side who dominated in the first quarter, with unforced errors from the hosts putting Italy on the front foot.
The visitor’s first score came from a penalty line-out on Scotland’s 22 from which the forwards muscled their way towards the white-wash to set-up hooker Bettoni for her first try after 11 minutes, with Michela Sillari converting to take the score to 0-7.
The Azzurri continued to pressurise Scotland at the breakdown who continued make errors to gift Italy a second penalty line-out which saw Bettoni touch down again for her side in the 17th minute but went unconverted to give the visitors a 12-point lead.
Scotland were quick to react in the second quarter and worked hard to build phases, and a line break from centre Lisa Thomson who punted the ball down the pitch enabled Rollie to collect and score in the right-hand corner in the 30th minute. Skeldon then reduced the deficit, taking the score to 7-12 with an outstanding conversion.
Thomson continued to burst through the midfield channel but was caught short. The Scots kept their composure in contrast to the Italians who gave away four consecutive penalties in their 22.
Scotland took the scrum and built phases as the pack punched the line to suck in the Italian defenders before No.8 Jade Konkel shipped the ball to Rollie who levelled the score in the 40th minute. Skeldon put the Scots ahead with another fine conversion.
HALF-TIME: SCOTLAND 14 – 12 ITALY
Italy, having lost all four previous games in the Championship, came out fighting but failed to crack the Scots’ defence which held strong for the remainder of the match.
Both sides fought for possession and Italy looked clinical, but errors crept into their game as they became impatient while Scotland were unable to capitalise on their opponent’s mistakes.
The fourth quarter saw the ball in the Scots’ hands for the majority, but they too couldn’t seize their opportunities as the backline struggled to get the ball out wide quickly and the Azurri had time to reset.
With two minutes to go, Scotland were gifted a scrum on Italy’s 5m line after Italy killed the ball before replacement wing Eilidh Sinclair could score.
As the clock wound down the Scots retained the ball which they shipped to captain Lisa Martin who made the final kick of the match, sending the ball out of touch, to cement Scotland’s well-deserved victory.
With 43 caps, prop Tracy Balmer announced her retirement from international and club rugby, while fellow Scotland front-row stalwart Heather Lockhart entered the history books by making the most appearances in the Women’s Six Nations (59).