Captain Emily Scarratt praised her teammates’ professionalism as England wrapped up their second successive Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam with a comfortable 54-0 victory over Italy in Parma.
It was the perfect way to end another dominant Championship for Simon Middleton’s side, with the title already wrapped up after France’s 13-13 draw with Scotland last weekend.
Scarratt was among the tries in the first-half, with Ellie Kildunne, Poppy Cleall, and Abbie Ward all crossing to wrap up the bonus point by half-time for the Red Roses, who were as imperious as ever at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
And there were another four tries after the break, as Sarah Bern and Jess Breach went over, before Leanne Riley and Marlie Packer rounded off the scoring, with Scarratt beaming after a confident team performance.
“We didn’t quite know what was going to happen with this being the first hit out, but the girls have been playing some really good rugby at the weekends,” she said.
“It was really important that we came here and finished the job, we knew what we wanted to do and it was just a case of doing it tonight.
“It wasn’t always pretty, it probably wasn’t always totally box office, but we’re really glad to get the job done.”
England had their sights set on another Grand Slam victory right from the first whistle in Parma, as they piled the pressure on the hosts’ tryline almost immediately.
And it took only four minutes for the Italians’ backline to be breached, as Kildunne went over in the corner for the first score of the game, and from there the floodgates opened.
Cleall burrowed over in typical fashion soon after to double the advantage, as Scarratt converted both, before the England skipper crossed for a try of her own on the half-hour mark.
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The England pack dominated throughout the first half, and it was a maul in the closing stages of the first period that bore fruit for Ward, who carried the ball over the line for the bonus-point score.
The visitors held firm for much of the second-half, until Bern bundled over on the hour mark to get her side’s fifth score of the game, with Breach adding another soon after.
Riley and Packer then made it eight different try scorers as the Red Roses ended their Championship with a comprehensive victory, with Scarratt emphasising the importance of keeping their standards from the start of the year.
“We put ourselves in this position from the first four games many months ago, and it was really important we kept our foot on the gas,” she said.
“There was a lot of players that were part of that squad six or seven months ago, and it was really important that we came out here and did all of those guys justice.”