Italy picked up their first win of the TikTok Women’s Six Nations after a battling second-half fightback was enough to beat Scotland 20-13, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.
Tries from Melissa Bettoni and Silvia Turani settled a hard-fought contest in Parma, where a warm April night gave way to a torrential downpour in the second half that made cohesive play difficult for both teams.
The hosts were also aided by Player of the Match Michela Sillari’s boot, the outside centre boasted a perfect record from the tee as she kicked half of Italy’s points to secure a vital win.
Scotland were in the lead for long periods of the match and looked to be heading for what would have also been their first win of the 2022 Championship, but it was Italy who reacted better to the conditions and turned the game on its head - having trailed 10-3 at the break - to leapfrog their opponents into fifth place.
Scotland opened the scoring through Helen Nelson’s 13th minute penalty after Italy scrum-half Sofia Stefan left the field injured forcing coach Andrea Di Giandomenico into an early change.
But the hosts responded well to going behind with Sillari scoring the first of her two penalties to level proceedings.
Scotland had the better of the scrum in the opening period and their forward dominance was rewarded just five minutes before half-time.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) April 23, 2022
Lock Emma Wassell barrelled over the whitewash to mark her return to the team in fine style, after missing the defeat to France in Round 3.
Referee Lauren Jenner originally believed Wassell was held up over the line but a TMO review confirmed the try and Nelson’s conversion gave the visitors a seven-point lead at the interval.
But when the rain came it was Italy who turned the screw, forcing Bryan Easson’s team into some last ditch defending straight from the restart.
Melissa Bettoni’s close-range try was a deserved reward for their pressure, with Sillari adding the extras to level the match.
Scotland’s hopes were dealt a further blow when replacement Jenny Maxwell was stretchered off after sustaining a knee injury just two minutes after coming on.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) April 23, 2022
The hosts continued in the ascendancy when replacement Turani dotted down with eight minutes to go after another strong rolling maul brought Italy towards the Scotland line.
Italy were still made to work for their win in the final minutes as Scotland won a penalty to reduce the deficit, Nelson finding the posts despite the wind and rain to secure a losing bonus point.
But Easson’s women couldn’t find that all important second try and Italy survived the final five minutes to secure the win and leapfrog their opponents in the table.
The TikTok Women’s Six Nations is more accessible than ever before. To find out how you can watch the Women’s Championship visit: womens.sixnationsrugby.com/tv/