Captain Manuela Furlan scored Italy’s first-ever hat-trick in the Women’s Six Nations as the Azzurre saw off Scotland in style at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow on Saturday.
Furlan’s first start on the wing since February 2012 – her last 53 tests having been at full-back – could not have gone any better as the Azzurre ran in seven tries in a 41-20 win, having failed to cross the line in their previous two outings.
Inside centre Beatrice Rigoni also scored twice in a classy performance to be named Player of the Match, while blindside flanker Ilaria Arrighetti and full-back Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi added their names to the scoresheet on either side of half-time.
Italy fell just short of beating their record score of 45 points against Scotland, achieved in 2014, but the win was good enough for them to equal their previous best position in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings.
With 0.86 of a point on offer for a win of that size, Italy were able to leapfrog Australia and the USA into fifth.
Scotland, meanwhile, stay in 10th place, still with a comfortable four-point cushion over Japan.
The home side were still in the contest at 19-10 down at half-time, but Italy pulled away in the second half before Emma Wassell scored a consolation try late on.
Italy will face Ireland next week with third place at stake, while Scotland are up against Wales in a match-up between the two bottom-ranked sides.
France set up ‘Le Crunch’ title decider
France, however, will be playing for silverware and a first Women's Six Nations title since 2018 after seeing off Ireland 56-15 in Dublin.
Caroline Boujard took her try tally for the Championship to five in two games as Les Bleues set up a date with England in the Women’s Six Nations 2021 final this Saturday.
Boujard scored the first of her two tries in a superb first-half display by the visitors that saw them lead 38-8 at the break.
Back-three colleague Emilie Boulard followed her over the line before a penalty try piled on the agony for the Irish. Cyrielle Banet and Safi N’Diaye still had time to add their names to the list of try-scorers, with Ireland’s only riposte coming from hooker Cliodhna Moloney.
Romane Menager and Banet again added second-half tries as France went on to achieve a record score in this fixture, while Ireland’s tried-and-trusted maul provided them with their second score through replacement hooker Emma Hooban.
Les Bleues gained three-quarters of a point for their fourth successive victory against Ireland, but that was not enough for them to improve on fourth place in the rankings.
Ireland are still in eighth place, with a fraction more than three points separating them from Spain below.