Shocked, Not Shocked: Italy Rocks W6N

Italy Scores Game-Winner Against Ireland

Italy took its first-ever win against Ireland in round three of the Women’s Six Nations. The result was not so much a surprise, but rather a team playing its best game.

North American viewers tuning into the FloRugby live-stream ached in suspense as the Azzurre rallied for the 29-27 win and thus second place in the standings. But for someone like USA Eagle Katy Augustyn, who’s played Italy multiple times, the Azzurre’s success was no surprise.

Watch it again: Italy vs. Ireland

Augustyn debuted for the USA against Italy in 2012, and admitted that, memory wise, all that remains is the rain and the nerves of that first test match. But the hooker did see Italy recently—in the opener of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. With the pools decided well in advance, the Eagles intently tuned into the Six Nations for notes on an opponent they’d face in five months.

The Eagle vet explained that the research helped build a team profile—Italy’s strengths and weaknesses as a team and individually, and areas of their game to be exploited. 

“We were able to familiarize ourselves with their tendencies on attack, defense, set piece, their kicking game and could identify who their major playmakers, strikers, lineout jumpers, etc., were,” Augustyn explained. 

“I certainly remember watching video and being really impressed that their entire backline was willing and able to kick,” the hooker continued. “Might be because I'm a forward who dreams of getting the green light to kick or because it's a part of the domestic game that is in my opinion so underutilized, but it certainly stood out to me when watching their video. Any kick you could think of: box kick, grubber or chip through the middle, up and under, clearing kick, passing kick to the wing.”

Simultaneously, the USA looked inward, evaluating what areas of its game needed fine-tuning.

“It's the first game of the tournament, so you know everybody is chomping at the bit to play. We knew Italy would bring it and we knew we really needed to set the tone in the first 20 minutes of that game and keep that pace rolling to the 80th minute,” Augustyn said of the game on Aug. 9, 2017. “So along with all of the skills and drills and unit work, we did a lot—A LOT—of conditioning in that residency camp and even once we got to Ireland. Definitely sucked in the moment, but was hands-down one of the keys to our success in that first game.”

The USA beat Italy 24-12 in 2017, and there were two players in particular, scrumhalf Sara Barratin and fullback Manuela Furlan, who impressed Augustyn then and now.

“[Barratin] is an impressive playmaker who will punish mistakes and their 15 is a dangerous strike runner,” Augustyn said. “They definitely are both threats and their connection lead to a beautiful break in the middle that eventually set their wing up for the first try of the match. That's after a near-try from [Barratin] in the opening minutes of the game”

Augustyn was surprised that Ireland came flat against Italy, and that lapse hurt overall. Italy and England are both undefeated at this stage, and they meet this Saturday. Be sure to tune in to see if another upset is in the making.

Women's Six Nations Games LIVE on FloRugby

DateMatchupScoreLinkWho Can Watch
Feb-1England at Ireland51-5On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-1Italy at Scotland28-7On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-2Wales at France3-53On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-8Ireland at Scotland22-5On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-9Wales at Italy3-3On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-10France at England41-26On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-23Ireland at Italy27-29On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-23Scotland at France10-41On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Feb-24England at Wales51-12On-DemandUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Mar-8Wales at Scotland
Watch LiveUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Mar-9Italy at England
Watch LiveUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Mar-9France at Ireland
Watch LiveUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Mar-16Scotland at England
Watch LiveUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Mar-17Ireland at Wales
Watch LiveUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal
Mar-17France at Italy
Watch LiveUSA, Middle East, North Africa, Portugal

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