At the TikTok Women’s Six Nations match on Sunday at Franklin’s Gardens, Abby Dow scored four tries to lead England to a convincing bonus-point 68-5 victory over Italy.
The Red Roses secured the try-scoring bonus point in the first half and led 27-5 at the break thanks to two scores from wings Jessica Breach and Claudia MacDonald, one from Abby Dow, and two from each other.
Italy had been within striking distance of the hosts early on thanks to Sara Tounesi’s unconverted score, which insured they wouldn’t be defeated, as they had been in their previous meeting.
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But that was the only time they put points on the board. Breach and Dow finished off their hat-tricks in the second half, while Marlie Packer and Tatyana Heard also scored, giving Simon Middleton’s team a rout and making it two wins in a row.
England 68-5 Italy: Abby Dow scores four tries as Red Roses
A knock-on by Veronica Maida on the edge of her own 22 handed England an early scrum in a prime position, putting Italy on the back foot right from the start. Although the set-piece wasn’t great, the Red Roses managed to get the ball and move it wide enough that Breach could finish for a try that Hollie Aichison converted.
Sara Tounesi broke off the side of the maul and scored in the right corner after the away team quickly retaliated by kicking to touch from a penalty and setting up a drive from a line-out.
However, the Red Roses came up with a steal at a line-out, and then fly-half Aichison kicked to the right corner, which Breach collected and then passed back inside for Abby Dow to score her first of the game with nine minutes remaining.
The 18th minute saw MacDonald score his first try of the game after taking the ball about 40 meters away, dodging an Italian defender, and then sprinting clear to score wide on the right as England’s forwards then began to show their authority at the scrum.
Just after the halfway point, the Exeter Chiefs star collected her second and earned the Red Roses’ extra point, earning the kickoff from Sarah Bern following one of the prop’s explosive runs, which earned her the player of the match award and saw her finish on the left.
After having one of her tries written off by the TMO for an obstruction in the buildup earlier, Saracens winger Breach still had time to score her second of the game before halftime, firmly placing England in the lead at the break.
Although the Red Roses applied some pressure early in the second half, inside center Heard made sure the tries kept coming with a score in the 45th minute, which was converted by midfield partner Lagi Tumi. However, MacDonald was forced off the field due to an ankle injury.
With just over 30 minutes remaining, Dow scored back-to-back tries to finish off her hat-trick, while Breach added another try to push England’s score above 50 points for the second game in a row in this year’s competition.
The outcome was already certain, but the Red Roses persisted in their offensive against the weary Italians, scoring twice through captain Packer after line-out drives each side of Abby Dow’s fourth try of the day. Substitute Emma Sing added two conversions to seal the triumph.
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Player of the match
Prop In the first half in particular, Sarah Bern’s strong carries laid the foundation for England’s victory, earning her the title of player of the game.
I had the chance to play in those areas today because I love carrying the ball, and maybe I can do so in a few more games, Bern told the BBC.