Preview: Italy Women v Scotland Women

Italy Women welcome Scotland to Padua with both teams looking to finish the Women’s Six Nations on a high and secure fourth place overall.

Italy Women welcome Scotland to Padua with both teams looking to finish the Women’s Six Nations on a high and secure fourth place overall.

Theoretically both teams could even overhaul Ireland in third, although that would be by points difference which is mathematical rather than realistic.

See all the fixtures from the Women’s Six Nations

But with both teams coming into the game off the back of momentous away wins, a second successive victory to end the Championship would allow them to look back on the campaign with satisfaction.

Ones to watch

Giada Franco: Skipper Sara Barattin remains the heartbeat of the Italian side, but their back row has been hugely influential this year as well.

Isabella Locatelli scored the first try in Wales but Giada Franco was deservedly named player of the match for her display.

The powerful back rower is capable of playing at No.8 or blindside flanker, and after coming off the bench in the early stages of the Championship, she has established herself as a regular starter.

A constant threat with ball in hand, the Rugby Colorno player will win her fourth cap on Sunday. And at just 22 years old, Franco looks to be here to stay.

Chloe Rollie: A trio of Scots are plying their trade in France this season at Lille Métropole Villeneuve d’Ascq and while Jade Konkel might be the most high-profile of the three, it was Chloe Rollie who was the difference maker last week against Ireland.

The full-back is blessed with extreme pace, and showed that with her 90-metre intercept try at Donnybrook. But there is more to her game than that intercept, she scored two tries against the Azzurre last year in a Scottish win, and also has Sevens experience for the Scots.

2018 Championship so far

Italy had a tough start to their campaign when they hosted defending champions England then travelled to Ireland and France. They were well-beaten by the English (42-7) and French (57-0), but caused Ireland (21-8) some problems in Donnybrook.

And when it came to round four and a trip to Principality Stadium in Cardiff, they produced their best performance of the Championship to date.

Running in four tries in all, the Azzurre took all five points in a 22-15 success in the Welsh capital.

Scotland will look back at their clash with Wales and wonder what might have been after a disastrous first half proved costly in a heartbreaking 18-17 loss.

They pushed eventual champions France (26-3) hard in round two before succumbing to the English (43-8) but Rollie’s heroics handed them a first win of the campaign in Ireland in Round Four.

The 15-12 success allowed them to build on a strong 2017, and gives them a chance to match last year’s fourth-place finish.

Championship history

Italy joined the Championship in 2007 and after finishing either fifth or sixth for each of the first seven seasons, they started to push higher up the table.

A fourth-place finish in 2014 was followed by third the following season, and while last year they were held winless for the first time since 2009, they have avoided that fate this year and will hopeful of winning multiple matches for the sixth time in the last eight years.

Scotland, meanwhile, had a well-documented barren spell in which they went seven years without a Six Nations victory, but they put an end to that in style in 2017.

Denied at the death by Ireland in the opening round, they made up for it with wins over Wales and Italy to finish fourth overall. That was their best performance since Italy joined the Championship; and they would match it with a win in Padua.