There were no shortage of tries on Saturday as the third round of the Women’s Six Nations 2021 ended with big wins for France and Italy.
France managed eight tries and Italy seven against Ireland and Scotland, respectively, on a day when 132 points were scored across the two fixtures.
But who were the star performers?
The freedom of Dublin
Women’s Six Nations 2021 top try-scorer Caroline Boujard followed up her hat-trick against Wales with another headline-grabbing performance in an emphatic 56-15 win against Ireland.
Both Boujard and fellow winger Cyrielle Banet (pictured), who also touched down twice, had the freedom of Energia Park, making 120 and 144 metres, respectively, with the ball in hand. In beating seven defenders, Banet proved particularly difficult for the Irish defence to handle.
Emilie Boulard may not have made as much ground as her back-three colleagues but with a try and an assist, she also played a telling role in the win.
Second-row Safi N’Diaye had a fine game, too, averaging five metres per her 10 carries, but flanker Marjorie Mayans’ industry around the park, which included 11 dominant tackles, saw her win the player of the match award.
Meanwhile, replacement back-row Romane Menager put her hand up for selection for the final against England on Saturday with a brilliant half-an-hour cameo off the bench. Menager scored a try in addition to carrying the ball five times for an impressive 73 metres.
In becoming the first Italian player to score a hat-trick in the Women’s Six Nations, Manuela Furlan was the undisputed star of the show as Italy turned on the style to beat Scotland 41-20 in Glasgow.
The Scots had no answer to Furlan’s pace and elusiveness out on the wing, an unfamiliar position to her having last started there in 2012, with the Azzurre captain making more metres (188) than any other player in round three.
Italy made 10 line breaks to Scotland’s one in the match, and Furlan and full-back Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi broke through four tackles apiece as the visitors threatened to run amok at times. That tally was only bettered by Beatrice Rigoni, who made over 111 metres from 14 carries in addition to five tackle busts, and the centre capped a fine game with two tries and an assist.
While most of the attention fell on Italy’s attack, they will be pleased with their defensive efforts. The Azzurre’s tackle completion rate was an impressive 93 per cent, and Rigoni was again magnificent in that respect in missing only one of her 13 attempted tackles.
Emma Wassell was a commanding presence in the Scotland lineout and emerged with plenty of credit in a losing cause by making all 13 of her tackles as well as scoring a late consolation try.