Round Three saw an historic Triple Crown win in Lasswade, heartache at Twickenham plus a nail biting victory in Benevento.
An historic Triple Crown win in Lasswade, heartache and loss at Twickenham completed with a nail biting victory in Benevento ensured Round Three of the Women's Six Nations went above and beyond all expectation.
Scotland 3 – 30 Ireland
England 20 – 30 France
Italy 15 – 16 Wales
Top of the table Ireland defeated Scotland 30-3 and whilst a convincing scoreline, it wasn't a true reflection of the game and how hard Scotland made Ireland work to secure their victory.
Scotland started well and were able to put their first points up for the tournament through the boot of centre Lisa Ritchie. However ill-discipline saw Niamh Briggs even the scores in the 23rd minute.
Try scoring machine Alison Miller crossed the try line with a double this weekend just falling short of her hat-trick last outing against England. Her combination and support play with Birggs is proving to be quite the handful for oppositions to stifle this year.
This victory means Ireland are now safely qualified for the 2014 World Cup in addition to their first Triple Crown and keeps them on track for a maiden Six Nations Title. Their clash next weekend against France will be critical to their Six Nations campaign.
France kept their Six Nations title hopes alive after a complete team effort saw them beat England 30-20 at Twickenham for the first time on English soil since 2005. With some initial handling errors due to nerves, the first half was relatively balanced with the scoreline see-sawing between the two sides. France went into the break with the lead 18-10.
France continued their dominance in the second half with a try to prop Christelle Chobet to extend the lead after some impressive backline play involving Godiveau and Marjorie Mayans. Chasing their tails England knew it was now or never to hit back. However the French defence structures were relatively sound before N'Diaye was sinbinned. England's Reed scored a penalty to bring the scoreline back to 13-25 but time was running out.
France then sealed their victory with a well-worked try finished by Ladagnous out wide, however England kept battling scoring a late try to Hannah Gallagher under the posts which was converted but it was too little too late.
This is the first time ever that England have lost two games in the history of this tournament. They will need to re-focus and play to their strengths when they come up against rampaging Italian side after their nail biting loss to Wales.
Italy went into their match against Wales as firm favourites having defeated both France and Scotland in their opening matches. Fly-half Veronica Shiavon opened the scoring a penalty in the fourth minute of the game. But Wales hit back with some fine work by their forward pack who corrected their set piece errors in previous weeks to work Edwards over the line from a line-out.
The second half was brutal and the penalties at the end of the day proved critical to Wales's victory along with some unwavering defence.
“We're disappointed at losing a game which was within our reach but we conceded too many turnovers and suffered in the scrum and mauls against a physical team. We need to now think of our next game against England and refocus,” Italy's head coach Andrea Di Giandomenico told ScrumQueens.com
This loss for Italy now gives Wales a chance to qualify for the 2014 Rugby World Cup pending the result of the next two rounds. Italy will need to defeat England and Ireland which will be a tough ask whilst Wales will come up against Scotland and England
By Amanda Love