Lydia Thompson’s hat-trick helped England beat Italy 74-0 in Parma to extend their record-breaking unbeaten run to 20 games with a second successive TikTok Women’s Six Nations win.
The defending champions are pursuing a fourth straight championship and Simon Middleton’s Red Roses were far too strong for their opponents, registering 12 tries in total at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
Thompson scored three with fellow winger Sarah McKenna collecting a try double and scrum half and player of the match Natasha Hunt dictating the tempo throughout.
Having beaten Scotland 57-5 last week, England’s win sets up a mouth-watering Round 3 clash against fellow unbeaten side Wales in their first home fixture of the championship.
England got off to a fast start as the rolling maul set the platform and scrum half Hunt fed McKenna who strolled in untouched on the blindside wing inside four minutes.
Zoe Harrison’s conversion put the Red Roses seven points to the good but despite dominating possession, Middleton’s side were faced with a stubborn Italy defence.
Eventually the early pressure told as Vickii Cornborough’s charge down put England on the front foot and left Italy scampering before Helena Rowland’s pass allowed Thompson to dive in at the corner for her 39th international try.
After a try for both wingers, England’s powerful forward pack got in on the act as Italy infringed and the Red Roses kicked to the corner, hooker Lark Davies applying the finishing touch to another unstoppable maul.
That stretched the lead to 17 with Harrison unable to add the extras but it mattered little when prop Shaunagh Brown marked her return to the starting XV by crashing over for the bonus-point try inside 28 minutes.
Harrison found her kicking boots to slot one from the touchline and seven minutes later impressive flanker Alex Matthews powered over from close range as her fifth carry of the game brought England’s fifth try.
Harrison kicked the conversion to take England into a 31-0 lead 35 minutes in and despite centre Beatrice Rigoni’s lung-busting runs in midfield, the Red Roses kept the home side scoreless going into the break.
McKenna’s delayed pass set Thompson away for her second try of the afternoon in northern Italy as the Red Roses came roaring out of the blocks at the start of the second half.
One of England’s experienced replacements, Vicky Fleetwood, was next to cross the whitewash after another rolling maul proved to be too much for the Italy pack.
Sarah Bern immediately announced her arrival onto the field by running in a cracking try from the halfway line after Hunt found her with a flick out the back door having capitalised upon an overthrown Italy lineout.
Ellie Kildunne was replaced by Emma Sing at full back and the substitute hit all the right notes on her second cap, crossing for her maiden Red Roses try to bring up England’s 50 against a tiring Italy defence.
Last year’s championship top points scorer Emily Scarratt got in on the act, touching down for England’s tenth try a minute after coming on.
Fly half Harrison showed off her footballing skills to pierce the Italy backline with a pinpoint grubber which allowed her teammate to collect and dot down in the dead ball area for her 50th Red Roses score.
Scarratt then came flying into action with a crash ball in midfield and when Rigoni failed to roll away from the resulting ruck she was sin-binned, paying the price for a constant string of penalties.
McKenna scored her second try as England made the most of their numerical advantage before Thompson completed her hat-trick with the final action of the game to round off a convincing triumph.
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