Keighley talent Ellie Kildunne was arguably the woman of the match as England kicked off their Women's Six Nations title defence at the weekend with an eight-try 48-0 trouncing of Italy in Parma.

England were heavy favourites to beat their hosts, but they were a player down for virtually the whole match, after having Sarah Beckett sent off after just 11 minutes.

But Kildunne’s kicking and handling was on point throughout at full back, and the speedster helped herself to two tries, as England still stormed to victory.

The hosts, who have finished fifth the last two years, were no match for the 2023 Grand Slam winners, who picked up a bonus point as they began their quest for a sixth successive championship in style.

The first half was not the smooth procession that many would have expected, with Beckett dismissed early on for a dangerous ruck clear-out.

She was initially only sent to the sin-bin, before becoming the first woman in history to have her yellow card upgraded to a red by the TMO 'bunker' system.

England only managed a couple of scores thereafter, taking a 10-point lead into half-time courtesy of tries from Hannah Botterman and Abbie Ward.

With captain Marlie Packer winning her 100th cap, England picked up their performance after the break and added a further six tries to seal a comprehensive win.

Kildunne went over for that aforementioned brace, with Lark Atkin-Davies, Helena Rowland, Mackenzie Carson and Connie Powell all touching down too.

And the visitors still managed to keep Italy scoreless, despite being reduced to 13 players in the 69th minute when Rowland was yellow-carded for head contact at a ruck.

After the game, England head coach John Mitchell praised his players for the way they reacted to losing a player so early.

"We responded really calmly. It's testament to this team that they are able to play with 14, eventually 13, players," he told England Rugby.

"We were building pressure coming up to half-time, and at the end of the day the girls responded to a difficult situation and got out of it really calmly."

Milestone woman Packer said the experience had been "a super-special day".

"I couldn't have done it without my family and all the people who have supported me along my journey. I'm really thankful to them," she said.

Kildunne and her England team-mates are back in action for round two of the Women’s Six Nations this Saturday, as they host Wales at Bristol City and Bristol Bears’ Ashton Gate ground.