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WXV 2 returns for a second round of scintillating action in South Africa

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 13: Babalwa Latsha of South Africa runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Evie Gallagher and Rachel Malcolm of Scotland during the WXV 2 2023 match between Scotland and South Africa at The Danie Craven Stadium on October 13, 2023 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. (Photo by Johan Rynners - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

WXV 2 kicked off in spectacular fashion in South Africa last Friday. Against Scotland, a bone-rattling tackle from South Africa’s Libbie Janse van Rensburg has done the rightful rounds on social media, and we were treated to some stunning tries across the competition. 

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The action continues this week in Cape Town with USA vs Scotland and Italy vs South Africa on Friday, followed by Japan vs Samoa on Saturday. All matches can be streamed for free on RugbyPass TV.

USA vs Scotland

Both sides got their WXV 2 campaigns up and running with bonus-point wins in Stellenbosch.

The USA Eagles enjoyed a bonus-point-securing 36-26 win against Samoa to open their account in South Africa with tries from Lotte Clapp, Atumata Hingano, Hallie Taufoou, Tess Feury, Kate Zackary, and Rachel Johnson. Taufoou’s try was created by a blistering run by Hingano from behind the halfway line after a deceptive dummy pass caught Samoa unaware. She was joined by Taufoou on her left and drew the remaining defender in before giving the offload to the second row for a stunning score. Gabby Cantorna converted three of the six tries. The 36-26 win ended a four-match losing streak for the USA Eagles. 

Scotland on the other hand are on a four-match winning run for the first time since 2009-10 after their opening win. They equally clinched a bonus point win with five tries against South Africa. Their rolling maul was successfully deployed four times as  Evie Gallagher and Leah Bartlett both dotted down while Lana Skeldon was back doing Lana Skeldon things as she scored a brace in the first half. Lisa Thompson added Scotland’s fifth try, and the only one to be scored by a back. 

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The USA have won five of the six fixtures they have ever played against Scotland, and the last time they lost was in 2001. The match will be the first time they have met outside of Europe or North America with their previous fixtures being held in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Galashiels, and Edmonton.

Mastercard Player of the Match against Samoa, Hingano starts again for the Eagles as interim head coach Milton Haig makes no changes to the starting XV. Hingano made 132 metres and broke tackles in an impressive performance last week. Zackary captains the side in her fifth outing in a row at centre. The captain played previously as either flanker or number eight, the latter being the position she played when they last faced Scotland in 2022. 

Player of the Match against South Africa Skeldon retains her place in an unchanged Scotland squad and is currently joint third leading try-scorer in women’s test rugby for 2023 with six tries. Rachel Malcolm returns to captain the side.

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USA XV:  Bulou Mataitoga, Tess Feury, Kate Zackary (capt.), Mata Hingano, Charlotte “Lotte” Clapp, Gabby Cantorna, Carly Waters; Catie Benson, Kathryn Treder, Charli Jacoby, Hallie Taufoou, Erica Jarrell, Freda Tafuna, Tahlia Brody, Rachel Johnson

Replacements: Paige Stathopoulos, Monalisa Tupou, Keia Mae Sagapolu, Jenny Kronish, Rachel Ehrecke, Taina Tukuafu, Katana Howard, Autumn Czaplicki

Scotland XV: Chloe Rollie, Rhona Lloyd, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Francesca McGhie, Helen Nelson (vc), Mairi McDonald; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (capt.) Rachel McLachlan, Evie Gallagher

Replacements: Elis Martin, Anne Young, Lisa Cockburn, Eva Donaldson, Jade Konkel, Caity Mattinson, Meryl Smith, Liz Musgrove 

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USA vs Scotland kicks off at 14:00 local time, 13:00 BST on Friday 20th October. 

Italy vs South Africa 

Italy face WXV 2 hosts South Africa after their 28-15 win over Japan in the first round.

This match is only the second time Italy and South Africa have faced each other. Italy won their only previous meeting 35-10 in 2018.

Beatrice Rigoni scored the first-ever WXV try in the third minute as Aura Muzzo delivered the offload for the centre to score. Rigoni returned the favour before the 30-minute mark in similar fashion as Muzzo scored the first of her brace. A further try from Francesca Granzotto who exploited a gap on the outside to from short range to score in the corner. 

South Africa’s Aseza Hele demonstrated her strength once again as she spun out of tackles and powered her way to the line for their first try to add to an early penalty from Janse van Rensburg and put the Springboks briefly ahead. Roseline Botes added a second from a well-executed driving maul in the loss to Scotland. Janse van Rensburg slotted all three kicking opportunities and South Africa came away from the match with a try bonus point. 

Italy head coach Giovanni Raineri has made five changes to the victorious side from last week and has omitted Michela Sillari, who had a 100% success rate on conversions against Japan. Rigoni captains her country for the first time in the absence of Sofia Stefan.

Rigoni will line up in the midfield with Beatrice Capomaggi who replaces Sillari. Fellow try-scorers Muzzo and Granzotto retain their places in the starting team, however, Granzotto moves from full-back to scrum-half. Three players named as replacements, Elena Errichiello, Nicole Mastrangelo, and Sofia Catellani, could all make their debuts. 

Byrhandrè Dolf is the only change to the backs for South Africa, and she replaces Maceala Samboya on the right wing. Try scorer Hele retains her place in the starting team at number eight while Botes does not feature in the side. Nolusindiso Booi, Springboks Women’s most capped player, moves from the bench to the starting team to face Japan.

She’ll make her 39th appearance for South Africa and takes the place of Vainah Ubisi in the second row. Catha Jacobs is awarded a starting place at blindside flanker while Micke Gunter also earns a starting place at hooker. A further four changes have been made on the bench with forwards Luchell Hanekom and Asithandile Ntoyanto, and backs Unam Tose and Unathi Mali all named as replacements. Babalwa Latsha captains the side at tighthead prop. 

Italy XV: Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi, Aura Muzzo, Beatrice Capomaggi, Beatrice Rigoni (capt.), Alyssa D’Incà, Veronica Madia, Francesca Granzotto; Giulia Cavina, Alissa Ranuccini, Isabella Locatelli, Sara Tounesi, Valeria Fedrighi, Alessia Pilani, Vittoria Vecchini, Silvia Turani

Replacements: Laura Gurioli, Gaia Maris, Lucia Gai, Alessandra Frangipani, Elena Errichiello,  Nicole Mastrangelo, Emma Stevanin, Sofia Catellani 

South Africa XV: Chuma Qawe, Byrhandrè Dolf, Veroeshka Grain, Piwokuhle Nyanda, Shaunique Hess, Libbie Janse van Rensburg (vc), Tayla Kinsey; Sanelisiwe Charlie, Micke Gunter, Babalwa Latsha (capt.), Nolusindiso Booi (vc), Danelle Lochner,  Lusanda Dumke,  Catha Jacobs, Aseza Hele

Replacements: Luchell Hanekom, Asithandile Ntoyanto, Yonela Ngxingolo, Vainah Ubisi,  Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Nompumelelo Mathe, Unam Tose, Unathi Mali 

Italy vs Scotland kicks off at 16:30 local time, 15:30 BST on Friday 20th October.

Japan vs Samoa

Japan and Samoa were both on the losing side last week against Italy and the USA, and will be hoping to secure a win in the second round. 

The first of two tries from Misaki Matsumura was scored in the 20th minute. A poor lineout from Italy gave Japan possession and Mana Furuta spotted the space to deploy a chip kick that was collected by Matsumura on the wing. Jennifer Nduka scored their second after Ayasa Otsuka delivered the long pass to Mei Yoshimoto who drew in the defence before setting up Nduka to score out wide in the 55th minute. Their final try from Matsumura was scored in the same corner after the clock had been in the red for two minutes.

Samoa opened the scoring despite some early USA possession as they converted their first passage attack to a try with Linda Fiafia running away to dot down under the posts uncontested within the opening ten minutes. Cassie Siataga added the conversion to give them a 7-0 lead before the USA scored the first of their six tries. Karla Wright-Akeli was another player who scored a brace in the opening round, her first in the 32nd minute as she ignited her electrifying speed to destroy the USA defence. Avau Filimaua scored from close range as she muscled her way over the line before Wright-Akeli added their final score in the 73rd minute.

Japan head coach Lesley McKenzie has made four changes to the starting line-up to face Samoa. Haruka Hirotsu is named at inside centre while Kanako Kobayashi moves to outside centre. In the front row, Hinato Komaki and Kotomi Taniguchi are named at loosehead prop and hooker in the place of Sachiko Kato and Asuka Kuge who move to the bench. Sakurako Korai starts at blindside flanker with Seina Saito moving to number eight.

Japan XV: Sora Nishimura, Misaki Matsumura, Kanako Kobayashi, Haruka Hirotsu, Komachi Imakugi, Ayasa Otsuka, Megumi Abe; Hinato Komaki, Kotomi Taniguchi, Yuka Sadaka, Masami Kawamura, Otoka Yoshimura, Sakurako Korai, Iroha Nagata (capt.), Seina Saito

Replacements: Sachiko Kato, Asuka Kuge, Nijiho Nagata, Jennifer Nduka, Ayano Nagai, Kotono Yasuo, Sakurako Hatada, Minori Yamamoto

Samoa XV: Karla Wright-Akeli, Linda Fiafia, Utumalama Atonio, Hasting Leiataua, Michelle Curry, Cassie Siataga, Faalua Tugaga; Ana Mamea, Ana Mamea, Rereglory Aiono, Olalini Tafoulua, Easter Savelio, Sinead Ryder, Sui Pauaraisa, Nina Foaese

Replacements: Lulu Leuta, Avau Filimaua, Angelica Uila, Fogamanono Tusiga, Taalili Iosefo, Bella Milo, Lutia Col Aumua, Saelua Leaula

Japan vs Samoa kicks off at 16:00 local time, 15:00 BST on Saturday 21st October.

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