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Italy overcome Scotland in opening RWC Europe Qualifier

Italy team

Maria Magatti scored an amazing solo try as Italy beat Scotland 38-13 in the first game of the Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualification Tournament.

In an outstanding first-half performance from the Azzurre, Giada Franco, Magatti, Sara Barattin and Ilaria Arrighetti all scored while Scotland got on the board through two penalty kicks from Helen Nelson.

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After the break, Michela Sillari also crossed and Magatti got her second before Scotland scored a consolation try through winger Rhona Lloyd.

Michela Sillari

Italy take on favourites Ireland in the next round of fixtures while Scotland take on Spain, who qualified for the competition after beating The Netherlands and Russia in the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship.

Italy started on the front foot, and after a series of pick and goes inside the Scottish 22, Franco powered over to score and put the hosts ahead inside two minutes.

The try was converted, but Scotland bounced back quickly, with Nelson kicking a penalty from in front of the posts to reduce the deficit to four points.

After a dramatic start, the game tightened and became a far more physical contest, but Italy suddenly burst back into life on the 20-minute mark.

Magatti scored the best try of the game after slick hands by the Italians put her through on the right wing and she stepped Chloe Rollie before evading a Scottish covering tackle to finish superbly in the corner.

The conversion was missed but the Azzurre came rampaging back into the Scottish half from the kick-off, with Lucia Gai hitting a great line to run the ball into the opposition 22 before offloading to scrum-half Barattin for Italy’s third try of the game.

Maria Magatti

Sillari’s second conversion of the game put Italy 19-3 ahead before Nelson kicked her second penalty of the game.

But Italy scored another converted try on the brink of half-time after a powerful run from Arrighetti which put Andrea Di Giandomenico’s side 26-6 ahead at the break.

The second half played out much like the first and after Nelson’s first penalty miss of the afternoon, the Azzurre crossed the whitewash again when a series of intelligent offloads put Sillari through to score under the posts.

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Italy had pace to burn all game and after fly-half Veronica Madia’s genius grubber through the Scottish defence, Magatti put her foot down and touched down for her second try of the match.

The only downer on an excellent performance from Italy was a yellow card shown to replacement Francesca Sgorbini, and Scotland scored against 14 women through Lloyd, who finished in space out wide.

Italy never looked like losing control though, and Scotland were also reduced to 14 with five minutes remaining after a high tackle from Christine Belisle.