England Women put Italy to the sword

England's Tamara Taylor celebrates a try against Italy during the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup, Pool B match at UCD Billings Park, Dublin
England's Tamara Taylor celebrates a try against Italy during the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup, Pool B match at UCD Billings Park, Dublin
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England notched their second straight 10-try win in defence of their Women’s World Cup title by over-powering Pool A rivals Italy 56-13.

Full-back Danielle Waterman scored a hat-trick and centre Emily Scarratt and winger Lydia Thompson went over twice each as a much-changed England followed up Wednesday’s 56-5 win against Spain in style at Billings Park, Dublin.

England coach Simon Middleton made 10 changes to the side which started in Wednesday’s opening game, but the defending champions showcased their strength in depth by running in another 10 tries.

Waterman’s fine break set up centre Scarratt for the opening touchdown in the 10th minute and England made it 12-0 in the 16th minute when number eight Alex Matthews went over.

Italy, beaten 29-15 by England in the recent Six Nations tournament, hit back through Veronica Schiavon’s penalty and then winger Maria Magatti out-sprinted the covering defence to reduce the deficit to 12-8.

England responded with a similarly well-worked try from Thompson, the winger’s 29th in international rugby, and just before the break flanker Marlie Packer’s storming run set up skipper Amy Cokayne for another to make it 22-8 at half-time.

Two tries in three minutes soon after the restart from second row Tamara Taylor and Scarratt put England in control at 34-8 and Italy briefly rallied for their second try through forward Elisa Giordano.

Waterman powered over to keep England well out in front and just after the hour-mark Middleton made a raft of changes, with Megan Jones, Harriett Millar-Mills, Heather Kerr, Vickii Cornborough and Sarah Hunter all entering the fray.

Waterman completed her hat-trick in the 64th minute, while Thompson touched down for her second and winger Amy Wilson-Hardy went over in the last minute to cap a comfortable win.

Scarratt kicked two of her seven conversion attempts and Amber Hemp was successful with one from three.