Reigning champions England continued their unbeaten start to the Women’s Rugby World Cup with a comprehensive 56-13 victory over Italy.
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
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.
New Zealand 121-0 Hong Kong
Portia Woodman ran in eight tries as New Zealand Women thrashed World Cup Pool A minnows Hong Kong 121-0.
The All Blacks scored 19 tries in total against their overwhelmed opponents, with winger Woodman running riot with six in the second half, while centre Theresa Fitzpatrick touched down twice.
Scrum-half Kendra Cocksedge, who also went over, kicked 13 conversions and there were also tries for winger Carla Hohepa, number eight Charmaine McMenamin, centre Chelsea Alley, full-back Hazel Tubic, prop Sosoli Talawadua, flanker Lesley Ketu, plus substitutes Kelly Brazier and Stacey Waaka.
USA 43-0 Spain
Naya Tapper scored two tries as USA secured their second straight World Cup win in Pool B with a 43-0 victory against Spain.
The Americans, 24-12 winners against Italy in Wednesday’s opening match, touched down six times and were awarded a penalty try, but were made to fight hard before breaking Spain’s stubborn resistance.
Right-wing Tapper’s early first try, converted by Alev Kelter, plus number eight Jordan Gray’s five-pointer gave the USA a 12-0 half-time lead.
USA flanker Sarah Parsons ended the first half in the sin-bin for stopping a Spain attack without trying to play the ball and after finally breaking Spain’s spirited second-half defence, full-back Cheta Emba and Tapper both went over.
A penalty try after Spain had collapsed a driving maul made it 31-0 before substitutes JJ Javelet and Hope Rogers scored tries in the closing stages. Kelter was successful with two of six conversion attempts.