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04th Apr 2022

‘That back line was ridiculous’ – England set new Test record after Italy win

Patrick McCarry


Reigning Six Nations champions England doled out an unmerciful thrashing to an Italy side that do not have long to recover until their next outing.

Having started their TikTok Women’s Six Nations title defence with a 57-5 win against Scotland, Simon Middleton’s side ramped it up and came within a point of equalling their record international rugby score.

England wingers Lydia Thompson [hat-trick] and Sarah McKenna shared five tries while there seven other try-scorers from the Red Roses. It was also England’s 20th straight win, extending the Test record they set against the Scots, last week.

“I loved it,” said England scrumhalf Natasha Hunt, who won Player of the Match in a comeback start. “It’s been amazing to be back with the girls and throwing the ball around with my mates.

“My big aim was to raise the tempo and keep driving that and if I’ve managed to do it, I’ve done my job. That back line was ridiculous today, so playing a part in it was brilliant.”

England head coach praises “outstanding” players

Simon Middleton wanted to emphasise that the 12-try performance against Italy, who clinched their World Cup place last year, was more about his team being clinical and impressive than the opposition being sub-par.

“To be fair, I wouldn’t say they’re an uncompetitive team; I thought we were outstanding today. I thought our physical effort was so intense that it probably made them look pretty ordinary, and they are not.

“Italy have got some good players, a lot of threats, and they were terrific last week against France. I think it’s a massive ask for them to back up these two games, two huge games for them in France away and us following up.

“It’s going to be tough for them and particularly when we have rotated the squad and had a really clear objective of the level of intensity we wanted to play at. So I just think the scoreline is more of a reflection of how we played.”

Italy must quickly dust themselves off, now, as they face Ireland on Sunday at Musgrave Park, in Cork.

Elsewhere, at the weekend, Wales beat Scotland while Ireland lose 40-5 to a France side that will be England’s closest title rivals again.