All the news from the second round of matches in Parma
Rugby World Cup 2021 European Qualifier Round-up: Day Two
Ireland reignited their hopes of qualifying for next year’s Rugby World Cup by beating Italy 15-7 in Parma.
The Irish went into the Rugby World Cup 2021 European qualifier as favourites to book their place at the tournament in New Zealand, but lost 8-7 to Spain in their opening match.
They bounced back in game two, however, with tries from Beibhinn Parsons and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe key to the victory.
Parsons scored Ireland’s opening try in the first half…
Then midway through the second half the teenager helped to set up her fellow wing Murphy Crowe with a searing break – one of many she made during the course of the match…
Beatrice Rigoni scored Italy’s try but the Azzure were unable to secure a losing bonus point.
In the second game of the day, Scotland beat Spain 27-22. That was a more attack-minded contest, with Scotland and Spain sharing seven tries.
Spain coasted through the Scottish defence for an early try, but Scotland hit back with two tries in quick succession. First Rhona Lloyd sprinted over out wide and then Lisa Thomson set up Megan Gaffney for Scotland’s second try with this break from the restart…
Before half-time Marga Rodriquez and Maria Garcia scored for Spain while Helen Nelson crossed for Scotland to make it 19-17 to the Leonas at the break.
After an exchange of penalties at the start of the second half, Scotland took a 27-22 lead – and secured the try bonus point – when Rachel McLachlan touched down from a powerful maul.
The Scots were able to withstand a late onslaught from Spain to hold on for the victory.
Every team has now won one game and lost one game, so they are all still in contention to book their place at RWC 2021 – and all are level on five points.
So it all comes down to the final round of matches on Saturday, when Ireland play Scotland and Italy take on Spain to decide who will qualify automatically for the World Cup, who will go through to the Final Qualification Tournament and whose dreams will end.
Rugby World Cup 2021 European Qualifier Round-up: Day One
From tries to tension, here’s a round-up of day one of the Rugby World Cup 2021 European qualifier in Parma, which produced plenty of drama.
Italy proved why they were highest in the World Rugby Rankings going into the tournament, comfortably beating Scotland 38-13, while Spain stunned Ireland to triumph 8-7.
The Azzurre captain Manuela Furlan crossed for two tries in Italy’s win while star flanker Giada Franco, experienced scrum-half Sara Barattin, back-row Ilaria Arrighetti and goalkicking centre Michela Sillari also crossed. Sillari slotted four conversions too.
Rhona Lloyd scored Scotland’s only try, which was converted by Sarah Law, while Helen Nelson kicked two penalties.
The second game of the day at Zebre’s Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi was a far tighter contest – and also an error-strewn one.
Less than five months ago the Irish beat Italy 25-5 to finish third in the Women’s Six Nations behind frontrunners England and France, but they couldn’t match those performance levels against Rugby Europe Championship winners Spain.
The Irish led 7-3 at the break, Beibhinn Parsons scoring out wide, and they looked to have crossed for a second try soon after half-time when Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe went over, but the TMO rightly ruled it out for a knock-on earlier in the move.
Neither side could put together multiple phases and mistakes made for a stop-start encounter, then came a dramatic final ten minutes.
Spain produced a strong driving maul in the Irish half and Sam Monaghan was sent to the sin-bin for collapsing – and the Spanish capitalised on that numerical advantage when Alyssa D’Inca scored in the 73rd minute.
Ireland had chances to retake the lead in the closing minutes, first going for a lineout from a penalty but losing possession and then going for the posts from a similar position but Enya Breen’s kick falling short. So Spain held on for a memorable win.
Only the tournament winner qualifies automatically for the World Cup in New Zealand next year while the runner-up goes through to the final repechage event.
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.