England produced a stunning comeback to recover from a 13-point half-time deficit and defeat reigning Women’s Six Nations champions France.
Emily Scarratt kicked 16 points as the Red Rose eventually triumphed 26-13 to start this year’s tournament with a win.
The hosts began slowly at Twickenham and they were behind inside five minutes, but Scarratt’s match-winning contribution — kicking three penalties inside 13 minutes — put the home side six points ahead with time running out.
England managed to keep France’s attack at bay in the second and they made sure of a memorable victory when Scarratt converted after Amy Wilson Hardy danced through to touch down late on.
Elsewhere, Ireland made a winning start to their Women’s Six Nations campaign as Jenny Murphy’s injury-time try secured victory over Scotland.
The teams were tied at 15-15 in Cumbernauld when centre Murphy dived in beneath the posts and Nora Stapleton added the conversion to give Ireland a 22-15 success.
The Scots had led 15-10 at the interval after two tries from Jade Konkel and five points from the boot of Sarah Law, against Ireland’s touchdowns from Sene Naoupu and Alison Miller.
Lindsay Peat hauled the visitors back to level terms in the 52nd minute, before Ireland survived as Scotland squandered penalties in dangerous positions.
That opened the door for 2015 Six Nations champions Ireland to scramble the win at the death, with Murphy driving over two minutes into injury time.
Captain Carys Phillips applied the finishing touch as Wales made a promising start to their Six Nations campaign with victory over Italy in Ancona.
Phillips crossed for Wales’ third try of the match to put the seal on a 20-8 win on the opening weekend of the championship.
Wales seized an early grip with a penalty from Elinor Snowsill after eight minutes, followed by Caryl Thomas going in under the posts for the opening try in the 16th minute.
Snowsill converted and Wales were in double figures before the Italians were off the mark, but a penalty from Michela Sillari and Manuela Furlan’s try, burrowing in on the left, made it a tight contest at the interval.
Welsh nerves were eased in the 46th minute when full-back Dyddgu Hywel made pressure on the Italy line count by cutting between a cluster of blue shirts to touch down.
And Phillips put the seal on the successful trip in the 66th minute when the Welsh pack drove the Italians back almost 20 yards to the try-line. She