The World Rugby Women's Rankings remained largely unaffected by results in the fourth round of the Women's Six Nations and Rugby Europe Women's Championship semi-final.
Englands' rating remains unchanged in second place after an emphatic 55-0 victory over Italy in front of a record home Six Nations crowd of 10,545 at Sandy Park in Exeter, a result that leaves them on course to become the first side since the introduction of bonus points to pick up a maximum five points from each of the five rounds.
Defending champions France have leapfrogged the Azzurre and moved into second place in the Women's Six Nations standings but, again, their ranking was not altered by a 47-17 win over Ireland, which was watched by another record attendance of 6.047. Les Bleues remain unchanged in third in the rankings.
Wales, however, were rewarded for their dramatic 17-15 win over Scotland at a windswept Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, Rowland Phillips' side gaining 0.62 of a point. That was still not enough for them to improve on eighth place, though.
WOMEN'S SIX NATIONS
ENGLAND 55-0 ITALY
England are on course for a second Grand Slam in three years after ending Italy's unbeaten run in this year's Championship in emphatic style.
The Red Roses bossed every facet of the match, enjoying the lion's share of territory and possession as they ran in nine tries without conceding any points at the other end.
Championship top try-scorer Jess Breach may have switched wings for this encounter but it did not stop her adding two more to her tally, the 21-year-old speedster starting the scoring spree in the 13th minute before adding another just past the hour mark.
With England's pack dominating the set-pieces, front-ball was in plentiful supply and Lark Davies, Sarah Hunter, Sarah Bern, Marlie Packer, Vickii Cornborough, Abbie Scott and Vicky Fleetwood, on her return to the side, also found their way over the line.
#WomenSixNations— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 9, 2019
Congratulations @FFRugby on a well deserved win. 17-47.
Plenty of lessons for our young team.
Incredible support & a new record crowd of 6,047. Thank You for showing your stripes! #IREvFRA pic.twitter.com/whRzY9ybaM
IRELAND 17-47 FRANCE
France ran out comfortable winners at Donnybrook but not before Ireland had given them a wake-up call, Adam Griggs' side having matched two early Les Bleues' tries with two of their own inside the first quarter.
From then on, though, it was one-way traffic, Lise Arricastre and Caroline Boujard adding two more tries, both converted by World Rugby Women's 15s Player of the Year Jessy Tremouliere, before the first half was over.
Leading 28-12 at the break, the visitors wasted no time in adding to their score, Romane Menager crossing in the 46th minute for a try which Tremouliere once again improved.
Menager turned from hero to villain though when, on the hour mark, she was given a red card for dangerous play. Ireland capitalised on their numerical advantage to score through Sene Naoupu, but Les Bleues bossed the rest of the game despite being down to 14 players and Audrey Forlani and Marine Menager added two more tries in the final 10 minutes.
SCOTLAND 15-17 WALES
Wales sealed a dramatic 17-15 success in Glasgow as Lleucu George showed nerves of steel to kick a match-winning conversion with the final act of the match.
Up until that point, Scotland had only been behind on the scoreboard for two minutes having scored tries through Jade Konkel, Sarah Bonar and Chloe Rollie. However, all three tries went unconverted and those misses ultimately cost them the game, as Wales managed to convert both their efforts in addition to an early penalty from the boot of Robyn Wilkins.
Wilkins also converted Beth Lewis' 17th-minute try but it looked as if Scotland were going to be the team who were going to get off the mark in this year’s Women’s Six Nations when Rollie crashed over to give the home side a 15-10 lead with three minutes to go.
But Siwan Lillicrap, who knocked on over the line in the first half, made up for her earlier error to level the scores at the death with George justifying her call-up with the match-winning kick into a strong wind.
RUGBY EUROPE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
NETHERLANDS 46-17 GERMANY
The Netherlands celebrated their first home test in over seven years with a convincing victory in the semi-final of the Rugby Europe Women's Championship 2019 and they will now meet Spain in the title decider in Madrid on 30 March.
The Dutch surged into a 10-0 lead following tries by scrum-half Jordan Heil and full-back Kika Mulling, but Germany hit back with two scores of their own to take a surprise 12-10 lead into the break.
Within four minutes of the second half, though, the home side regained the lead through blindside flanker Linda van der Velden. Fellow forwards Tessa Wijmans and Bodil van Wijnbergen followed her over the line before fly-half Lorraine Laros converted her own try to take the score out to 41-12.
Germany responded with their third try with 12 minutes to go but the Dutch had the final word when Mulling got her second on the stroke of full-time.
The win was worth a fraction under a third of a point in the rankings, not enough for the Netherlands to improve on their present position of 14th.
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