The results of the Women's Six Nations after Round Two have blown this competition wide open, with Ireland and Italy leading the race.
Results from the Women's Six Nations following Round Two have blown this competition wide open, with Ireland and Italy holding 100 percent records.
There were some brilliant individual displays of skill being shown in France, a historic win for the Irish in Ashbourne and more mud in Scotland.
After their first round loss in the Rovato mud in Italy, France were desperate to bounce back and rectify their inability to convert pressure into points.
Well they certainly proved their critics wrong in defeating Wales 32-0. Fly-half Jessy Tremouliere led the way securing 22 points alone on the night with two tries. Second-half tries to Caroline Ladagnous and replacement front row Laetitia Salles secured the victory for France.
The key was the set-piece and the back-row of Tombe, Andre and Grand proved just too lethal for Wales, who struggled to get into the game.
“This victory is very satisfying,” said France hooker Gaelle Mignot.
“We had to dig deep after last week and there is still room for improvement. Even at 20-0 at half-time we did not relax. We knew we had to stay focused.”
France currently sits fourth on the ladder just behind favourites England based on points differential. England is their next opponents on February 23 in what could ultimately be a decider in the 2013 Women's Six Nations.
Ireland's historic 25-0 victory over England was an absolute gem of a game. Right from kick-off, England were second guessing themselves, allowing the ball to spill over the sidelines.
Ireland's ability to hold England up in the tackle zone, creating turnovers in the maul situation three times within the first-half, was paramount to the sustained pressure that England quite simply could not overcome. Combine that with some impressive set-piece moves that allowed Allison Miller to showcase her outstanding pace and strength, crossing the line three times for Ireland. Full-back Niamh Briggs scored the rest of the points.
“Ireland always raise their game against us,” England head coach Gary Street said in the lead up to the game.
“We know this is going to be one of our toughest games of the tournament and as always I want to rotate the squad and give game-time to players.”
Street may want to re-visit his rotation policy ahead of their next match in Twickenham.
In the final match of the round Italy came out on top, defeating Scotland 8-0 in muddy conditions underfoot.
There seems to be a recurring theme which equates muddy field conditions to victories for Italy. Despite having the majority of possession Scotland couldn't find a way to penetrate the defensive line of Italy. Veronica Schiavon's was on target to open the scoreboard in the 20th minute with a 30 metre sideline penalty which sailed easily through the uprights.
Scotland, again at the right end of the field, made simple handling errors which relieved the pressure. The game-changing moment came in the second-half when Manuela Furlan made a break down the touchline and kicked ahead, with scrum-half Sara Barattin diving down to secure the victory for Italy.
“We had too many turnovers in their 22 which is a shame because so many aspects of our performance were significantly better than last week,” said Scotland coach Karen Findlay.
“We scrummed really well, our line-out was better and we had a hugely improved work rate but they scored a try so completely against the run of play.”
This result sees Scotland at the bottom of the Six Nations table. They will face a confident Ireland on February 23 and will need a bit of luck, but I do not see the rugby Gods granting such fortune after witnessing the dominant display Ireland provided against England.
Round Three is already shaping up as the do or die round of the 2013 tournament.
By Amanda Love