Italy have moved above Scotland and into sixth place in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini following their 27-21 win over Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.

Two tries from Vittoria Vecchini plus a score apiece from Valeria Fedrighi and Aura Muzzo was enough to seal victory despite a late scare from the hosts.

Katie Corrigan scored an intercept try with a minute remaining to bring Ireland into losing bonus point territory, but Italy hung on and are now at their highest position for almost a year with a rating of 76.50 points.

Ireland had 0.89 points knocked off their rating but their new total of 70.63 points is still enough for them to hang onto 10th place in the rankings.

The result of the two games on Saturday had very little or no impact on the rankings as England and France justified their favourites’ tag to beat Wales and Scotland.

England extended their winning run in the Women’s Six Nations to 26 matches with an eight-try 46-10 win in front of a crowd of 19,705 at Ashton Gate in Bristol – a record crowd for a Red Roses match outside of Twickenham Stadium.

The visitors took an early lead through a Lleucu George penalty but then the  Red Roses took command with tries for Maud Muir, Zoe Aldcroft, Hannah Botterman and Lark Atkin-Davies before half-time.

England continued where they left off in the second period with Ellie Kildunne scoring two tries and Abby Dow and Rosie Galligan also adding to their collection either side of a tap-and-go score by Wales scrum-half Keira Bevan.

While the victory maintains England’s push for a sixth consecutive title it did not come with any rankings reward as there were no points riding on such an outcome due to the 20 points-plus difference between the teams before home weighting was factored into the equation.

England remain 5.62 points clear of New Zealand at the top of the rankings as a result, while Wales stay in eighth place, also with an unchanged rating.

France, meanwhile, beat Scotland 15-5 in the opening game of round two at the Hive Stadium in Edinburgh.

France went into the match ranked three places higher than Scotland in third but found themselves behind at half-time after hooker Elis Martin marked her first test start with a try.

Tries from Kelly Arbey and Emiline Gros were enough, though, for France to see off stubborn Scotland and avoid a first defeat to them in 14 years.

But with only one-tenth of a point handed to them for the narrow victory, Les Bleues could only marginally cut the gap between themselves and New Zealand in second.

Outside of the Women’s Six Nations, Spain began their Rugby Europe Women’s Championship title defence with a 24-0 win against Portugal in the first-ever meeting between the Iberian rivals.

While that match did not affect either team’s rating or position in the rankings with Spain remaining 11 places higher than As Lobas in 13th, USA gained 0.56 points for their 38-17 win over South Africa in the only other test played this weekend.

Even so, the win in west London, streamed live on RugbyPass TV, was not enough to lift the USA any higher than their present position of ninth. South Africa remain in 12th place.

Flanker Georgie Perris-Redding scored a hat-trick of tries for the Women’s Eagles in what was an encouraging start for new head coach Sione Fukofuka.

Photo credit: FIR