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WXV 2 recap: Italy, Scotland, and Japan secure victories in the second round

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 21: Nao Ando of Japan celebrates with teammates after scoring their sides fourth try during the WXV 2 2023 match between Japan and Samoa at Athlone Sports Stadium on October 21, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Johan Rynners - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

WXV 2 treated fans to yet more exhilarating action as the teams moved from Stellenbosch to Cape Town for the second round of the inaugural competition.

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First up at Athlone Sports Stadium was Scotland vs USA on Friday 20th October.

While Scotland’s forwards had most of the fun in their opening WXV match against South Africa, the backs were able to stretch their legs against the USA, scoring three out of the four tries in their 24-14 win. 

Francesca McGhie opened the scoring 11 minutes into the match in Cape Town as she raced down the left wing from outside of the 22 to score without any threat from USA who were unable to match her pace. 

Lisa Thomson set up Scotland’s next successful phase of attack as a sublime kick from just outside her own 22 was too much to gather for Carly Waters who fell into touch after chasing down the bouncing ball in the USA 22. 

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Lock Emma Wassell was the only Scottish forward to score, and she snuck over the line four minutes later from close range after the Eagles’ defence was thoroughly tested in multiple phases of relentless attack from Bryan Easson’s side. 

Within minutes Scotland had their third, this time from wing Rhona Lloyd. Rachel McLachlan made the initial break from the halfway line to the ten-metre line before releasing Lloyd on the right wing who ran the remaining metres to finish the score with aplomb.

The Eagles’ first score was set up by a driving maul and after multiple phases, Charli Jacoby got the USA on the board as she shrugged off the attempted tackle from Christine Belisle to power herself over the line. Scotland went into halftime with a 17-7 lead. 

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Chloe Rollie secured the bonus point for Scotland ten minutes into the second half as she spotted space with numbers on the left and bounced her way out of tackles to score her team’s fourth. 

USA had a chance two minutes later as Tahlia Brody ran to within inches of the line before being brought down by Rollie. Tess Feury gathered the ball from the ruck and looked set to score in the corner, however defiant defence from Christine Belisle denied Feury the try. 

The Eagles soon got their second score when Paige Stathopoulos broke free from the driving maul catching the Scottish defence unaware in the 66th minute. Feury’s conversion was the final score of the match.

In the second match of the day Italy moved up to first place in the WXV 2 table with their 36-18 win over hosts South Africa. 

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Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi scored Italy’s first try inside the opening five minutes with a dazzling run from behind the Italian 22-metre line. She outran a determined Libbie Janse van Rensburg who was the last standing Springbok defender to cross the line successfully. 

Italy weren’t ahead for long as South Africa captain Babalwa Latsha powered herself over the line in the ninth minute before Janse van Rensburg pulled the sides level with a conversion.

Aura Muzzo put Gli Azzurri ahead moments later, converted by Beatrice Capomaggi. Springbok centre Veroeshka Grain spent ten minutes in the sin bin after indirect head contact and Italy capitalised on their one-player advantage as they scored their third.

Alissa Ranuccini dotted down after Silvia Turani supplied her with the pass to reach the line from within five metres. After a penalty each for Janse van Rensburg and Capomaggi before half-time Italy led 22-10 at the break.

Less than ten minutes into the start of the second half South Africa lost a second player to foul play, this time for the remainder of the game. Aseza Hele was shown a red card in the 50th minute for a dangerous tackle on Veronica Madia and will miss South Africa’s next match against Samoa. 

She will initially miss the next match her for club, Harlequins, against Trailfinders on 18th November. Her ban also included Harlequins v Sale Sharks on the 25th of November, however, the final match will be rescinded upon completion of the World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme.

Italy got off to a far more positive start and ignited the scoring in the second half as they had in the first. Vittoria Vecchini propelled herself across the line in the 51st minute to give Italy the bonus-point try. 

Byrhandre Dolf scored South Africa’s second try after a sensational right-foot step from close range decimated the Italian defence. Alyssa D’Inca added Italy’s bonus-point try in the 74th minute. The wing sprinted from well inside her own half after intercepting the Springboks’ attack for a stunning solo score. Capomaggi’s conversion completed the scoring for the day in Cape Town.

On Saturday, Japan recorded their first WXV win in a 32-10 victory over Samoa. 

Samoa Cassie Siataga got the first points on the board with a penalty in the ninth minute.

Despite Japan’s eventual score line, Samoa’s only try was also the first try of the match. Rereglory Aiono dragged multiple defenders with her for ten metres before she crashed over the line after a powerful run supported by Sinead Ryder. Siataga added the conversion to give them a 10-3 lead. 

After a string of sideways phases, Japan gained forward momentum from captain Iroha Nagata who scored their first try after breaking the line and running away for a simple score. Ayasa Otsuka added the conversion to draw the two sides level after 28 minutes. They scored a second just after half-time as Sakurako Korai capitalised on the Japanese overlap on the left-hand side. 

Samoa were dealt a double blow when they lost both Karla Wright-Akeli and Linda Fiafia to yellow cards within two minutes of each other. Wright-Akeli was sent off for a deliberate knock-on and Fiafia was shown a yellow after making head contact in a tackle. 

Haruka Hirotsu scored Japan’s third as they made use of their two-player advantage which allowed her to touch down on the left wing largely uncontested before Otsuka converted the score.

Nao Ando added their bonus-point score as the clock ticked into the final ten minutes. Otsuka drew in the defenders before giving the offload to Ando who finished the score despite two defenders attempting to drag her down. 

Italy currently top the WXV 2 standings on points difference as both they and Scotland currently have ten points. Gli Azzurri lead by +7 heading into the final round, where they will face the USA on the last day.

Scotland will open the final round with their match against Japan and will be looking to secure a further five points and boost their points difference in order to aid their hopes in the final standings.

After Japan’s win against Samoa, they sit third in the WXV 3 table on five points. Due to being nine points ahead on points difference, they sit just ahead of USA who also have five points.

The two bottom-of-the-table teams Samoa and South Africa will face each other in search of their first win of the competition on the penultimate day.

Make sure you catch all of the action on RugbyPass TV!

WXV 2 Matches

Friday 27th October: Scotland vs Japan, Athlone Sports Stadium, Cape Town. KO – 14:00 local time, 13:00 BST

Friday 27th October: South Africa vs Samoa, Athlone Sports Stadium. KO – 16:30 local time, 15:30 BST

Saturday 28th October: USA vs Italy, Athlone Sports Stadium. KO – 17:00 local time, 16:00 BST

Other WXV matches this week:

WXV 1

Friday 27th October: England vs Canada, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin. KO – 19:00 local time, 07:00 BST

Saturday 28th October: New Zealand vs Wales, Forsyth Barr Stadium. KO – 16:00 local time, 04:00 BST
Saturday 28th October:  France vs Australia, Forsyth Barr Stadium. KO – 19:00 local time, 07:00 BST

WXV 3 

Friday 27th October: Kazakhstan vs Fiji, The Sevens 2, Dubai. KO – 17:00 local time, 14:00 BST

Friday 27th October: Kenya vs Colombia, The Sevens 2. KO – 19:30 local time, 16:30 BST
Saturday 28th October: Ireland vs Spain, The Sevens 2. KO – 17:00 local time, 14:00 BST

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