Italy and Scotland have moved up to seventh and 11th respectively in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings, their highest positions since the rankings were introduced in February 2016, after victories on the road against Wales and Ireland.
Italy produced a fine performance at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff against an ill-disciplined Wales side that paid the price for losing three players to the sin-bin in the second half.
Isabella Locatelli, Maria Magatti and Beatrice Rigoni scored tries for the visitors before Michela Sillari sealed a 22-15 win with their fourth at the death.
The Azzurre’s third consecutive victory on Welsh soil was worth 1.42 rating points and boosted their overall total to 74.55 points, which is enough to lift them above Wales into seventh place.
Wales lost an identical amount of points in exchange to fall one place to ninth, while only points difference now separates them from Italy at the foot of the Women's Six Nations standings.
Ireland drop to eighth after losing 15-12 to Scotland at Donnybrook, with their ever-improving opponents climbing above Samoa into 11th after gaining a fraction less than two rating points.
In a game of few chances, Chloe Rollie’s second-half breakaway try proved decisive as Scotland achieved their first win in Ireland in a dozen years.
The weekend kicked off with a monumental battle between title rivals France and England, watched by a world record crowd of 17,440 at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble.
Both sides went into the game unbeaten and the game proved to be as close as many people predicted. England had seemed set to take the win in France thanks to tries from Abby Dow and Amy Cokayne – the first tries that Les Bleues had conceded all Championship – but Jessy Trémoulière popped up to score her second try at the death and secure an 18-17 win.
France's fifth victory over England in the last six Championship meetings between the nations saw them close to within three points of the Red Roses in the rankings. England remain in second place, on 91.43 points, with France back in third on 88.50.
Les Bleues are now just one win away from the Grand Slam in the Women's Six Nations and hold a three-point lead over England going into their final fixture against Wales at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay. England face Ireland at the Ricoh Arena, while Scotland travel to Padova to take on bottom-of-table Italy looking to match their two-win tally from the 2017 Championship.
Photo credit: FIR
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