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Emma Stevanin is one of a number of young players making her mark with Italy.

She and the Azzurre are now looking forward to taking on Ireland in round two of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations on Sunday.

The stand-off/centre was on the bench for the opener with England last Sunday, but came on in the first half after an injury to Michela Sillari.

For large parts of the clash in Parma, especially that first period, Italy tested England before the defending champions ran away with things and won 48-0.

“We have reviewed the performance against England and for 50 minutes we were happy with a lot of the things we were doing,” 21-year-old Stevanin, who was yellow-carded right at the end of the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi encounter, said.

“During that time we defended well and frustrated England and showed glimpses of what we can do when we have ball in hand.

“However, England then got away from us a bit and we know that we need to be better for 80 minutes going forward if we are to win matches in this event.

“We know that we are capable of that though and another week of training this week and spending time together has allowed us to work on a number of things and get them right in time for the Ireland match.”

The appearance against England was Stevanin’s 12th at international level and she knows that she is still learning, but she feels at home amongst the group and believes something special is growing in Italian women’s rugby.

“It is so good in the squad because we have players with all different levels of experience and we can all learn from each other,” she explained.

“Of course, the younger players like me can always learn from the older players because they have the experience, but they can learn from us as well and I think it is a nice combination.

“The coaches have also created a nice environment along with the playing group and that means that we all work hard in training, but we also get on off the pitch when we have down time and that is important when you are in camp during a tournament like this.

“We did not have lots of time together before the competition began, but now that we have played one match we feel that we are able to build from there and really get going as we move forwards now.”

The last time Italy were in Ireland during the Championship was two years ago, when the hosts won 29-8 in Cork.

Italy got revenge last year with a 24-7 triumph in Parma and Stevanin came off the bench in that one.

Late last year, Italy were just pipped to the WXV 2 title in South Africa by Scotland while Ireland won WXV 3 in Dubai.

Italy are currently ranked seventh in the world and Ireland 10th, but home advantage at the RDS Arena in Dublin will be a boost to the latter on Sunday and this is shaping up to be a tight and intriguing affair.

“We know that Ireland are a side that are building too and they had some good moments in their match against France in round one [the Irish lost 38-17],” Stevanin said.

“We respect what they can do and we know that they will have a strong home crowd behind them, but we have been focusing on what we can do and what we can bring to the match this week in training and we are looking forward to the challenge that is to come.”

(Main image: FIR)