Scotland fell to a 41-20 defeat to Italy, with tries from the visitors in Scotstoun including a brace from Player of the Match, Beatrice Rigoni, and a hat-trick from captain Manuela Furlan.
While the scoreline may not show it, the match was quite equally matched – but Italy closed down many opportunities built by the hosts as their defence won out. Scotland’s head coach Bryan Easson said there were “harsh words” at full-time and they will want to right the wrongs of the match next weekend.
Meanwhile, earlier today France dominated Ireland 56-15. France were all over Ireland in the match and had control of the fixture from kick-off. Key players from Ireland’s win over Wales last week, particularly Beibhinn Parsons, weren’t given a chance to get into the match.
Today’s results mean on finals day Scotland will play Wales, Italy will face Ireland and England will play France in the final games of the tournament. All the action will be live here at The Guardian. Thank you for joining me!
Scotland head coach Bryan Easson
‘We are really disappointed. The performance wasn’t good enough. I thought we did well to get back to get back to 12-10 but then we gave away soft tries.
‘Harsh lessons, harsh words at half-time. We have to learn and get better. Lots to think about.’
Italy head coach Andrea Di Giandomenico
‘The girls were confident and I think we can play beautiful rugby. Scotland are always brave and never down in the match.
‘We are happy, when we lose control we have to work on this. We are happy.
‘The Six Nations is a really great tournament, each game has an emotional story. We will try for third place, Ireland is a big match.’
Scotland captain Helen Nelson
‘We’re disappointed. There were parts we played well but that wasn’t the full 80 minutes we wanted to play.
‘We had some really good phases of possession in the second half but we were too soft at times. You make mistakes at this level teams will take advantage.
‘We are willing to work for each other but it’s not all about hard work. There are individual errors that we can’t do.’
Italy captain Manuela Furlan
‘It was a good game, we played well. Ireland will be another battle as it was today.
‘The win was fundamental. It was a battle in every part of the field today but we got through.’
Player of the Match Beatrice Rigoni
‘This has been a good start for us in terms of the future and future objectives.’
What does the result mean?
Well Italy will face Ireland to determine who finishes third and fourth, Scotland will play Wales to see who will be fifth and sixth and England will play France in the final.
Full-time: Scotland 20-41 Italy
A huge second half performance from Italy secures a spot in the third-fourth play-off against Ireland next week.
While Scotland displayed huge promise, they just couldn’t get past the Italy defence to convert the opportunities they created.
Rigoni and Furlan were both stand out stars for Italy. But what this match has shown is the skill within the women’s game.
What a match!
TRY! Scotland 20-41 Italy
Well deserved try for captain Furlan who has secured her hat-trick in this match.
The long pass from Rigoni to her skipper endured the try, great team work. Sillari converts.
78 min: Cammarano is held up be Belisle to stop a sure try, great defence from the Scot.
77 min: Italy win another penalty and they launch another attack as they look to see out this match.
77 min: Player of the Match has been given to Rigoni.
76 min: Italy win the ball at the scrum and release another attacking threat.
76 min: Skeldon’s throw is not straight and so they cough the ball up to Italy. These errors are stalling Scotland’s play.
75 min: Scotland win a penalty as Italy hold onto the ball. Thomson kicks to touch and it lands at halfway.
74 min: Scotland are on the attack again. If they can score two tries in six minutes they will finish higher in Pool A. Can they do it?
TRY! Scotland 20-34 Italy
Wassell’s try is good! The Scots celebrate loudly after that one! Nelson converts.
73 min: Have Scotland scored here? The TMO and ref are checking Wassell’s grounding
72 min: Scotland try the maul but it doesn’t work for them. They go out wide but Italy hold them for now.
71 min: Scotland again win a penalty at the scrum, they kick to touch and show their intention to get another try.
Again the referee warns about discipline.
71 min: Scotland win a penalty after Maris puts in a high tackle.
70 min: The hosts are trying to unlock their attack but once again the Italy defence is an iron wall.
TRY! Scotland 13-34 Italy
Rigoni gets her second of the match. The score resulted from a long passage of attack after Rigoni stole the ball.
Italy are so impressive when they get ball in hand and are hard to penetrate in defence.
Sillari misses the conversion.
67 min: Italy have won the ball back and all that sustained possession for Scotland comes to nothing.
66 min: Scotland win the ball and are once again on the march. If they don’t come away from this passage of play with points they will be heartbroken.
65 min: The ref stops play as there are two Italian players on the floor. Play was getting too close to them and so when we restart it will be a Scotland scrum.
65 min: A great break from Thomson fires Scotland up as they become more confident in their attack. More fluid movement and meaning with every pass they are making.
64 min: The Italian defence is so strong, so far Scotland have not gained much ground.
The pressure is also forcing them to have loose passes.
63 min: The scrum is good and Scotland fires through Gaffney.
They go through the phases to try and close the points gap.
62 min: Italy lose the ball in a tackle and so we set up another scrum.
There have been so many in this clash and each one is a huge battle
61 min: Skofca hold onto the ball and so Scotland kick to touch.
They miss touch and so Italy are on the attack again.
min: Scotland make a change as Musgrove is off and Grant is on
Italy make a replacement as Gai comes off
TRY! Scotland 13-29 Italy
Furlan finishes off a patient and persistent attacking play from Italy.
Sillari misses the conversion
58 min: There’s a penalty advantage for a high tackle, could there be a card coming in the next break of play?
Italy still marching forward.
57 min: The maul is shut down well by Scotland but Italy retain the ball.
They are inching ever closer to the line.
57 min: Sillari kicks to corner, the Italians want to increase the lead they have over the Scots.
56 min: Italy’s scrum is strong once again and they edge their way into the 22.
Scotland force another penalty. Ref has a word with Nelson for ‘pushing and shoving’ on the ball.
55 min: They were playing an advantage there as an Italian player was tackled without the ball.
We come back for it, Italian scrum.
55 min: Italy are now in possession after Scotland cleared their lines.
Furlan really leads from the front and is such a key player for her team as she makes good metres in their latest attacking attempt.
54 min: Scotland change as McDonald comes off for Maxwell
53 min: They can! Scotland come away with the penalty and Thomson kicks clear.
What a relief for Scotland!
53 min: These set pieces have become a battle ground with every single one being able to go both ways.
The scrum is being reset, will Scotland be able to clear?
52 min: The Italian line-out is clean once again but a huge maul eventually sees Scotland turn the ball over.
Scrum to come.
51 min: Line-out is good and they win another penalty from the set piece.
Italy kick to touch.
50 min: Scotland give up the ball as they give away a penalty.
Italy clear, line-out to come.
49 min: The hosts work the try well and continue their march to the try line.
They are still within their own half but they have numbers if they can get the ball out quickly to the wing.
48 min: McDonald box kicks and Italy collect but then they knock on
47 min: Scotland are building their attack from inside their own half here but they are making metres in the phases.
46 min: Scotland make a change as Kennedy is off and Belisle is on
Penalty! Scotland 13-24 Italy
Nelson converts the penalty coming from Italy’s tenth error.
Just 11 points between the sides now.
45 min: Furlan is getting a formal warning from the ref after they force another error.
45 min: The line-out sets up a maul but it wasn’t powerful enough to get them over the line so they release their backs.
44 min: We come back for the advantage and Bettoni is warned for causing it which takes Italy to nine penalties.
Scotland kick to touch
43 min: Gaffney has secured the restart and they look to hit back after conceding early in the second half.
They are playing a penalty advantage
TRY! Scotland 10-24 Italy
That was well worked by the whole team.
Rigoni fed Barratin and the ball eventually wound up in the hands of full-back Minuzzi who dots down.
Sillari misses the conversion.
41 min: Italy are starting the half just as they ended the first in dominant attack.
They are everywhere at the moment, especially through Rigoni who feeds Barratin who makes it to a few metres out.
The second half in this close contest has kicked off. Scotland only trail Italy by ten points so the result could go either way.
Both teams need to be sharper at the set piece but so far Scotland have given away more penalties than the visitors.
Here’s a look at Skeldon’s try!
The first clean line-out of the first half resulted in Scotland’s first score of the match.
Half-time: Scotland 10-19 Italy
Italy will breathe a sigh of relief after scoring that try before half-time as Scotland started to build into that match.
The two teams are evenly matched so far as Scotland started to shut down the dangerous attack for Italy towards the end of that half.
It’s all to play for in the next 40!
TRY! Scotland 10-19 Italy
Italy have fast hands and Arrighetti spots a gap to run in Italy’s third of the afternoon.
40 min: Italy have a late opportunity here to score before the break.
They are just a few metres out.
Penalty! Scotland 10-12 Italy
Nelson’s kick is clinical and she closes the gap to just two points.
The score line definitely displays how close these two teams are.
39 min: Italy’s scrum was good but Scotland win a penalty after Rigoni played a player off the ball.
Nelson points to the sticks.
38 min: The line-out isn’t straight once again which gives away a great position.
37 min: Wow! Italy’s defence is pushing Scotland back a metre per phase!
Scotland win a penalty but hat’s off to Italy there.
36 min: Scotland’s line-out is good and they are in attack, just a few metres out.
Can they go square here?
36 min: Furlan once again made great metres but her offload ended in Scottish hands.
Scotland kick to touch and a line-out is to come
34 min: Furlan made a good break but Wassell wins the ball back.
They clear their lines but Italy collect and are on the march once again.
33 min: Italy come out with the ball and they fire into attack.
They are playing the ball quite wide here and they will have to be careful not to be bundled into touch.
32 min: Skeldon blunders at the line-out as she doesn’t throw straight.
Both teams continue to make errors which is slowing the attacking side of the match down.
31 min: Scotland then win the ball back at the scrum with a dominant push!
This game is back and forth at the moment.
30 min: Scotland give away a free kick at the Italian line-out.
The visitors opt for a scrum.
29 min: Scotland’s line-out is good once again, Skeldon has been more clinical since she scored Scotland’s try.
Italy are putting a lot of pressure on the hosts at the moment. It is such a close contest so far.
28 min: Scotland lay the ball in their own 22 but McDonald clears her lines.
Italy were offiside and so we come back so Scotland can once again clear their lines
27 min: Rigoni has dropped the ball over the line which is a huge disappointment for Italy.
Have Italy scored here? The ref and the TMO are checking the grounding
27 min: Italy are inching closer and closer to the line but so far Scotland’ defence is holding strong.
26 min: The line-out is good, the early nerves seem to have worn off.
Italy gets the ball back after a high ball and look to get their bonus-point.
25 min: Italy are now looking to hit back after conceding that score.
However, Scotland shove them into touch, line-out to come.
TRY! Scotland 7-12 Italy
The line-out was clean for Scotland and they build a maul. The ball was in the hands of hooker Skeldon at the back and they charge over to score.
22 min: Barratin plays the ball from McDonald’s hands and so Scotland have a penalty.
They kick to corner, line-out to come.
21 min: The line-outs for both sides just aren’t firing today as Italy’s goes loose.
Scotland went on the attack but they are coming back to the advantage for a knock-on. Scotland scrum
20 min: A third line-out goes awry for Scotland but they win it back.
Nelson puts boot to ball and she gains a lot of territory.
19 min: Scotland win back the ball! They also win a penalty at Bettoni has a high tackle on Skeldon.
Such a close battle at the moment
18 min: Another Scotland line-out has gone loose and resulted in giving up possession.
If the hosts want to stay in this match they need to stop making these errors. Every time they give the ball up Italy come away with a penalty.
They kick to touch.
17 min: Scotland get the ball out the scrum and play a knock on advantage. They win the penalty and they kick to touch.
16 min: Giordano has now knocked the ball on at the back of the scrum!
Yet another scrum but in Scotland’s hands this time.
15 min: Scotland win a penalty!
They spring into action but Italy have got the ball back after a knock-on. Another scrum here!
14 min: The contest at the scrum is proving competitive at the moment with every set-up being hugely powerful.
So far Italy have the slight edge but Scotland are giving them a run for their money.
13 min: Italy release the ball quickly but the fast pace means Barratin loses it.
12 min: Scotland knock-on to halt their first real attacking opportunity.
11 min: Once again Italy have possession and they are going through the phases.
The kicking game comes into play and it is taken cleanly by Rollie.
TRY! Scotland 0-12 Italy
Off the back of the loose throw at the Scotland line-out, Italy get the ball through the hands. It ends up in captain Furlan’s who runs it in from deep.
Sillari misses conversion.
8 min: Scotland line-out after the restart is loose and so the visitors launch another attack.
TRY! Scotland 0-7 Italy
Wow! That was such a good team try.
The ball came out of the scrum and they fed the ball well. Rigoni came out with the ball and she crashed over.
5 min: Italy win the ball and they set off on an attack.
They are within the 22 and are looking extremely dangerous with ball in hand. Italy win a penalty and set up a scrum.
4 min: The ball comes out of the scrum and Italy collects.
However, they barrel Barratin into touch and so Scotland have a line-out.
3 min: The scrum is reset multiple times and Scotland win a penalty. Another Scotland scrum to come.
2 min: Italy’s line-out isn’t straight and so Scotland win the ball back
1 min: Italy gain a penalty as Scotland force a knock-on
Italy kick to touch
1 min: Italy have managed to catch their own starting kick and they launch a quick attack.
We are underway in this clash which will determine who will play who on finals day.
The teams are about to come out onto the pitch.
There will be a moment of silence for rugby against racism, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and other greats we have lost this week.
We will have the anthems.
Just under 20 minutes to go until kick-off for this clash!
An interesting battle to watch will be between the two full-backs Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi and Chloe Rollie. The kicking game will come into play in this one and high balls will be one to keep an eye on.
Throughout this tournament there has been a lot of talk around the gap between England and France and the other teams.
While the score line can show that England or France are clearly miles ahead in the women’s game, and they certainly are in terms of finances, sometimes the points don’t tell the whole story.
Last week Italy held off England for the majority of the match, Ireland were clinical over Wales and Scotland were much improved against England. So while there is a lot of improvements to be made in the background for Ireland, Italy, Wales and Scotland, the talent and skill are within the teams.
As Ireland lost to France this afternoon, whoever wins this clash will play Ireland while the loser will face Wales.
Ireland have been clear that they will be striving for that third place spot so whoever comes up against them next week will have another huge game to contend with.
Scotland: Rollie; Musgrove, Thomson, Nelson, Gaffney; Law, McDonald; Bartlett, Skeldon, Kennedy, Wassell, McMillan, Gallagher, McLachlan, Cattigan.
Replacements: Rettie, Cockburn, Muzambe, Belisle, Howat, Maxwell, Wills, Grant.
Italy: Ostuni Minuzzi; Furlan, Sillari, Rigoni, Magatti; Madia, Barattin; Skofca, Bettoni, Gai, Fedrighi, Duca, Arrighetti, Cammarano, Giordano.
Replacements: Turani, Maris, Tounesi, Locatelli, Veronese, Sgorbini, Stefan, Muzzo.
Scotland and Italy will both be keen to get a win in today’s match to right the wrongs of both of their campaigns so far.
Last weekend Italy played some of their best rugby in the first half against England which held the Red Roses at 17-3 at the break. However, Italy couldn’t hold on for the full 80 and England ran riot in the second half to defeat them 67-3. If Andrea Di Giandomenico’s team can get the consistency for the full match then Scotland will have a task on their hands.
While Bryan Easson’s team also fell to defeat to England but the match was a reverse of Italy’s. The Red Roses were dominant in the first half and then Scotland came into their own in the second to put their opponents under huge pressure. If both sides can bring their best this afternoon the match will be a battle.
And while neither team can win the tournament, the result of today’s match will determine who they play on finals day.
The last round will still see three matches played on the same day and where the teams finish in their respective pools will determine their opponents. Earlier today France beat Ireland to join England in the final and the other teams will play the team who ranked in the same position in the other pool.
In Pool B, Wales finished third and Ireland finished second. This means the winner of today’s match will play Ireland on April 24th and the loser will play Wales. The action at Scotstoun Stadium will kick off at 5pm BST.