Italian rugby ended the weekend in Cardiff on a high note after the Azzurre defeated Wales 19-14 to climb to an all-time high of fifth in the World Rugby Women's Rankings.

With 1.08 points awarded to them for victory, Italy climb above the USA and Australia and now boast a record points total of 79.25 points.


Building on last season's runners-up finish in the Women's Six Nations, the Azzurre weathered a late fightback from the home side to edge another typical tight encounter between the teams.

In truth, though, Italy could have been out of sight had two TMO decisions gone the other way and several other chances not been squandered.

Robyn Wilkins' well-struck penalty had given Wales a deserved early lead but the momentum quickly changed in Italy's favour. They had to wait until the 33rd minute, though, to get their first points on the board through hooker Melissa Bettoni, who had earlier had a score ruled out for obstruction.

Having pulled off one try-saving tackle, Hannah Jones showed her attacking qualities to burst through three tackles to score in the corner, Wilkins converting to hand Wales a 10-5 half-time lead.

The theme of Italian near-misses continued after the interval and it wasn't until the 55th minute that their pressure told, Maria Magatti finishing off a superb break from experienced scrum-half Sara Barattin to score a try that Michela Sillari converted. 

At this point, it was all Italy and a third try arrived through Sofia Stefan with the scoreline now standing at 19-10 in the visitors' favour.

Kelsey Jones' try from a lineout peel set up a grandstand finish but despite throwing everything they had at Italy, Wales fell just short.

Scarratt shows her class

A brilliant try from World Rugby Women's 15s Player of the Year 2019 Emily Scarratt helped England secure an equally tight 19-13 win over France in Pau.

England's first win in the Six Nations in France since 2012 came with a reward of 0.65 of a point and the Red Roses are now on 93.65 points, less than a quarter of a point behind New Zealand. France remain in fourth.

Abby Dow opened the scoring in the ninth minute with her 11th try in 10 tests before Vicky Fleetwood doubled their lead at the end of the first quarter, Scarratt converting to make it 12-0. 

However, Les Bleues grew into the half and when Jessy Trémoulière converted Laure Sansus' try and added a penalty, there were only two points between the sides at the break.

With 62 minutes gone, Scarratt hit a brilliant line off an Amber Reed offload to race over from 40 metres and score England's third try. She was successful with the conversion to put Simon Middleton's side two scores ahead.

Trémoulière's second penalty got France within six points with six minutes to go but England held out for the win.

Scotland a close second

Victory over Ireland at Energia Park would have lifted Scotland above their hosts and into the world's top 10 for the first time. Philip Doyle's side gave it everything they got but it was the Irish who came out on top, 18-14.

After falling 13-0 behind in the opening 15 minutes to tries from Megan Gaffney and Sene Naoupu and Ellen Murphy's penalty, Scotland clawed their way back and reduced the deficit by seven points when Helen Nelson converted Lisa Thomson's try.

Full of belief, Scotland unleashed wave after wave of attack on Ireland but just when they were threatening to score a second try, Beibhinn Parsons intercepted Sarah Law’s loose pass before sprinting home for the pivotal score on 66 minutes.

Scotland still refused to give in and salvaged a losing bonus point with a converted try late on through Emma Wassell.