Abby Dow
England’s Abby Dow scored two of England’s nine tries
Italy: (3) 3
Pen: Sillari
England: (17) 67
Tries: Scarratt, Fleetwood, Dow 2, Millar-Mills, Rowland, B Cleall, MacDonald, Davies; Pens: Rowland, Scarratt; Cons: Scarratt 8
Coverage: Rewatch the match in full on BBC iPlayer

England secured their place in the Women’s Six Nations final as a flurry of late scores helped them to a nine-try victory in Italy.

In a slow start for the Red Roses, Emily Scarratt and Vicky Fleetwood benefited from Italian mistakes for the side’s only first-half tries.

England improved when replacements came on after the break and scored four tries in seven minutes, with Abby Dow crossing twice.

The final is on BBC Two on 24 April.

England will not learn their opponents for that match until Ireland face France next weekend, but Les Bleues are the favourites to top Pool B.

Before the game both sides paid tribute to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday aged 99.

The English flag was flown at half-mast during the match and a two-minute silence was observed before kick-off, with England players and UK officials wearing black armbands.

England struggle for early momentum

England came into the match as heavy favourites, but it was Italy who dominated possession from the outset.

Head coach Simon Middleton had rotated his Red Roses side after last weekend’s 52-10 defeat of Scotland and the 10 changes he made seemed to have sent England backwards initially.

They struggled to find their flow and instead had to settle for points earned through Italian mistakes. Scarratt got the visitors on the scoreboard when she picked up a dropped ball to cover half the pitch, before converting her own try.

Italy were not deterred and continued to launch spirited attacks but again ball-handling was the Azzurre’s undoing as Meg Jones grabbed a loose pass and found Fleetwood, who scored.

Middleton condemned repeated inaccuracies against Scotland last weekend and England struggled to tighten up some of those mistakes.

Returning captain Sarah Hunter brought an attack to a halt with a knock-on and Scarratt was sin-binned for a high tackle on wing Maria Magatti.

Italy’s Michela Sillari took the chance to score three points, before England’s Helena Rowland claimed a penalty of her own to take the Red Roses in with a 13-point lead at the break.

More to follow.

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