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Former Italy fullback Manuela Furlan talks us through all things Guinness Women's Six Nations.

Once again, eight tries for England, who remain in the lead with an exorbitant points differential of +130 - the result of a stellar attack that has so far seen Ellie Kildunne score six tries (a brace in each game).

Jess Breach's performance against Scotland on the weekend was excellent, relentless from the moment she was given space in open field. With their defence practically impenetrable except for the points conceded against Wales, England are once again the Championship's frontrunners.

Scotland were overwhelmed by the Red Roses, and failed to gain a foothold with any of the few chances presented to them. Was this a step backwards for Scotland, though? Not necessarily. England are in the habit of giving opposing teams very few opportunities, such is their excellent form. The Scots were under a lot of pressure from the Red Roses, but what they still possess is a high-intensity rhythm to their play, which could be a great asset in this weekend's match away to Italy.

The biggest news of the weekend came out of Cork. Ireland showed themselves to be the team that has grown the most in these first three rounds of the Guinness Women's Six Nations. After their bitter defeat to Italy, they played to their full potential, effectively annihilating any Welsh initiative.

Rhythm, intensity and aggression are just some of the characteristics seen in the Irish who, in every department, showed those characteristics in the final minutes of the match.

Back rower Aoife Wafer was increasingly to the fore, scoring a try and putting in a performance of the highest level - omnipresent at the contact area and a devastating ball carrier - so much so that she was rightly awarded Player of the Match. In this, she was closely followed by her teammate Sam Monaghan, who also shone.

Determined and combative, as much in defence as in attack, this Ireland team seems to have finally found the right gears to go through, exemplified in Beibhinn Parson finally getting on the scoresheet.

In contrast, Wales never seemed to get out of first gear. They were an unrecognisable team compared to recent outings, both in the game but especially in character.

They showed very few ideas and looked confused, struggling to counter the Irish who were superior in every department (but especially in one-on-one situations). The fight between the back rows was clearly won by the team in green, with the normally effervescent trio of Alisha Butchers, Bethan Lewis and Alex Callender completely destroyed by a tenacious and combative Ireland in every encounter.

That result in Ireland will boost the Azzurre's confidence. They will be able to draw many cues for their final match of the Championship against Wales at the Principality Stadium.

France rediscovered their rhythmn against Italy at home in Paris. Bolstered by the crowd that came in their thousands, Les Bleues set out their stall immediately with a try in the opening minute from centre Nassira Konde.

However, the Azzurre reacted by maintaining possession in the home 22 for almost twenty minutes, from which they emerged with three points from the boot of Beatrice Rigoni.

For their part, France immediately showed the liveliness that was missing in their last outing against Scotland; so much so that in the second quarter, they effectively put the game to bed by scoring three times.

Despite this, in the second half, France went off the boil a bit, giving Italy their chance to cross the line - which they duly did. Alyssa D'Incà scored a fantastic try, going over after a quick exchange between the Stevanin-Rigoni pairing. This only served to rouse France, and they struck back throughout Madoussou Fall directly from a lineout. The Azzurre didn't lose heart and played to the last, crafting a well-deserved try once again through D'Incà after a 60-metre sprint, showing all her skills in space and in a one-on-one.

Should Italy have expected a reaction from France after their struggles to overcome Scotland in round two? Yes.

Could more have been done to test them? Perhaps.

Sometimes you have to recognise the superiority of your opponents, which in this case was complete in every department, including most importantly the scrum. But we must give credit to the Italian girls for never giving up, and for fighting until the last minute.

Perhaps a little more boldness would have allowed us to stay closer on the scoreboard, but what we take home with us is the character shown until the 80th minute.

France remain in second place, just one point behind England. Will these two teams still be the contenders for the title? The penultimate hurdle for Les Bleues before that showdown with the Red Roses is Wales, who will have to play the game of their lives if they are to give them a run for their money.

The English, on the other hand, will be playing at home against a galvanised Ireland side, albeit one that will also, like Wales, need to make a significant step up if they are to stem the white tide.

As for our Azzurre against Scotland, it will ultimately come down to whoever is hungriest for victory.

Scotland, on the strength of last year's victory in this fixture, will try to replicate that result on Italian soil, but I don't doubt that Italy will aim to stamp their authority from the outset. This is the perfect time for this encounter: both teams have more than fourth place to fight for, but a desire to establish themselves amongst the big teams.