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France, Wales and Italy shine on Matchday 3 of the 2023 Six Nations Under-18s Women’s Festival

France, Wales and Italy shine on Matchday 3 of the 2023 Six Nations Under-18s Women’s Festival

France, Wales and Italy shine on Matchday 3 of the 2023 Six Nations Under-18s Women’s Festival

France ended an incredible 2023 Six Nations Under-18s Women’s Festival with a perfect record of five wins from five after an emphatic triumph over England.

Both sides had recorded four wins from four ahead of Matchday 3 at Wellington College but Les Bleuettes were simply sensational.

Earlier in the day, Wales snatched their second win of the Festival thanks to a dramatic conversion in the last kick of the game.

Italy and Scotland played out a thriller to get Matchday 3 underway, with the Azzurrine coming out on top in the back-and-forth clash.

Italy 19-15 Scotland

Giorgia Cuppari’s late try sealed Italy’s second win of the Festival despite a stunning display from Scotland’s backs.

Duncan Harrison’s side thought they had made the perfect start when No.8 Megan Hyland crossed in the corner, but the referee saw a foot in touch and after battling on their own line for several minutes, Italy were able to clear.

However, there was no doubt when Lucy MacRae danced her way through the Italian defence to score following a delightful inside pop pass from skilful centre Faye Sutherland.

Italy responded with a long spell of possession, and after working their way to the try line, Sara D’Andrea impressively powered over with half of Scotland’s pack on her back.

But the pendulum swung once again, and as the clock turned red, Nicole Flynn touched down in the corner to give Harrison’s side a three-point advantage at half-time, leading 10-7.

Scotland were reduced to 14 players at the start of the second half, and the Azzurrine capitalised when Eva Eschylle crossed following a barrage of carries on Scotland’s line.

Then it was Italy’s turn to see a player sent to the sin bin, and Scotland were quick to take advantage, shifting the ball out wide for Flynn to score her second.

Cuppari had been a talismanic figure for Italy all Festival, and she stood up in the closing stages, taking a quick-tap penalty before bursting through the Scotland line to give her side a 19-15 lead with six minutes remaining.

With four points separating the two teams, Mary Akosa made a crucial steal at a lineout to seal Italy’s second win.

Ireland 17-19 Wales

Carys Hughes kicked a crucial conversion at the death as Wales beat Ireland to record their second win of the Festival.

Ireland were in the ascendency in the early stages, with most of the opening ten minutes played in Wales’ half.

They took the lead in the 12th minute through Emily Foley, who went over the whitewash unopposed for one of the tries of the Festival after a delightful cross-field kick from fly-half Abby Healy.

Foley scored her second eight minutes later, producing a superb finish with next to no space in the corner.

Wales got their hands on the ball as the first half progressed, earning a lot of joy out of close-range carries off scrum-half Katie Bevans and pick-and-goes.

However, Ireland’s defence was like a brick wall, with Orla Wafer and Lily Morris in particular making some powerful hits to keep Wales out until half-time, Ireland leading 12-0.

Wales were a different side after the break, reducing the deficit to seven points thanks to a try from Abi Meyrick, who touched down from the back of a driving maul.

Wales came alive after their first try and Nia Fajeyisan came within inches of levelling the scores, but she was brought down on the five-metre line and a knock-on shortly after allowed Ireland to breathe a sigh of relief.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, Ireland regained control, but time and time again, Wales were able to rebuff their opponents inside their own 22.

Some outstanding phase play from Wales brought them up to Ireland’s five metres line where there was no stopping Alaw Pyrs, who crossed underneath the posts to level the scores.

Ireland responded in style when Lucia Linn conjured a fantastic cross-field kick of her own which was caught by Lyndsay Clarke.

The replacement wing then stepped two players to restore her side’s advantage, but there was still more drama to come.

With Wales five points behind, Pyrs cemented her place as one to watch in years to come with another powerful score underneath the posts.

That levelled the scores, and Hughes held her nerve to kick the conversion to hand Wales their second win of the Festival.

England 10-57 France

France capped a fantastic Festival with a convincing win.

It was all England in the opening ten minutes, with Amelia Williams giving her side the lead after a powerful carry from inside five metres.

However, Les Bleuettes were soon on the front foot, with Kelly Arbey crossing in the corner after some outrageous offloads from the French backs.

The all-action flanker then converted her own try to level the scores, and France were ahead shortly after.

A world-class steal at the lineout from Arbey saw the ball moved out wide, and Alice Grandhome was there to touch down in the corner.

Guillaume Lafont’s side had come alive as Zara Macquart put forward her nomination for try of the Festival.

The lock sprinted the length of the field and appeared to be running out of gas before finding a sensational second gear to score France’s third.

Three points from the boot of Amelia MacDougall reduced the deficit to seven points, but No.8 Maria Niakate showed her power to shrug off two tackles and score France’s fourth to make it 22-10 at the break.

Les Bleuettes scored their fifth after half-time when lightning-quick winger Suliana Sivi found Garance Merle on her shoulder following an excellent break down the touchline.

Paola Castello extended France’s lead to 36-10 in the 45th minute, stepping a defender having taken a quick-tap penalty.

Aelig Tregouet made it a magnificent seven with ten minutes remaining, and Iness Zeze added another shortly after.Noa Coudre touched down with a minute left on the clock to cap an amazing afternoon for France.