Chloe Rollie was the star of the show with two tries and a handful of electrifying breaks as Scotland Women snatched their second win in this year’s Six Nations championship with a performance bursting with self-belief.
It is the first time since 2006 the Scots have won two matches in a Six Nations campaign.
Scotland got off to a slow start, allowing the visitors to charge into a 12-0 lead inside 17 minutes thanks to two tries for Melissa Bettoni and one Sofia Stefan conversion. It could easily have been a hat-trick for the Italian hooker in the 23rd minute but Scotland held her up over the line. Then Rollie showed terrific pace in launching an audacious break-out which went all the way to the halfway line, and had she managed to kick ahead then the Italians would have been in all sorts of trouble. As it was, she took contact and Scotland were not able to make that particular burst of momentum count, but the home side seemed to play with a lot more confidence after that.
A few minutes later they got off the mark with an excellent try made by a powerful midfield and a deft grubber kick ahead by Lisa Thomson, which Rollie chased down to score in the corner. Lana Skeldon slotted the conversion from just inside the touchline for good measure.
Thomson and Rollie had two more impressive carries before the first half was out as Scotland worked their way back to deep inside enemy territory, and they then twice boldly opted to kick penalties to the corner instead of take the three points. Then, with a third penalty deep into injury time they opted for the scrum, and eventually got their reward when the ball was sent left across the park for Rollie to grab her second.
Scotland weathered a minor storm at the start of the second half, but managed to batten down the hatches and see it out, before battling their way back up the park. The confidence which has grown in this Scottish team during this Six Nations was evident in the way they set about consolidating their lead.
They launched wave after wave of attack. A break up the left touchline from Rhona Lloyd had the Italians back-pedalling frantically; another mesmerising counter from Rollie also caused panic in the visiting ranks; a beautifully weighted kick into the corner almost sent Eilidh Sinclair in; there was a furious onslaught from the resulting scrum which went through several ferociously contested phases; and an excellent midfield break from Lisa Martin sliced the Italian’s wide open.
Scotland could not add to their score but controlled possession and territory during what could have been a tense final quarter.