Giada Franco earned praise for her dominant debut performance as Harlequins dispatched rivals Richmond 101-0 in their Tyrrells Premier 15s opener at The Stoop on Saturday.
The Italian international openside flanker quickly showed fans how important she will be for them this season.
While she didn’t register any points, she chased every kick, broke the line on multiple occasions with some powerful runs and was dominant at the breakdown – creating quick ball for her scrum-half all day.
“She’s like a human steam train” said joint head coach Gary Street.
“She was so impressive in last year’s Six Nations and we’re really grateful to have her.
“How she stays on her feet when there’s about six people on her I don’t know. She’s outstanding.”
It wasn’t just Franco that earned Street’s plaudits, and even he admitted the manor of the victory was a surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting that really,” he said.
“We prepared really well but it went better than we could have hoped for.
“The girls worked extremely hard. We’re fortunate to get the girls in together as a group as much as we do and that showed today.”
The tries were scored by Anna Caplice, Shaunagh Brown (2), Jess Breach, Ellie Green, Leah Lyons, Chloe Rollie (2), Emily Scott, Khadidja Camara, Jade Konkel, Abbie Scott, Amy Cokayne and Emma Swords.
Green kicked brilliantly off the tee, converting thirteen of Quins’ tries.
Scottish international full-back Rollie, who was also on debut, scored the pick of the tries.
She received the ball out wide 30 yards from goal, sidestepped a defender then cut inside and displayed electrifying speed to get away from the Richmond defence, going over under the posts.
“I’m definitely going to remember that one!” she said.
“I saw the space wide and Emily Scott took it up and created a two on one. To get that space and to use my footwork was great.”
Losing to a side of Quins’ ability will not worry Richmond coach Mike Panoho, but the manner in which it happened certainly will.
“Keeping a hold of the ball is key,” he said.
“We need to take pressure off ourselves and put pressure on the teams that we play.
“The players are hurting but it won’t define our season. We can still do well in this league and there’s more to come from these girls.”
There’s no respite for Richmond as they travel to reigning champions Saracens next week, while Harlequins go to Worcester.
Feature image courtesy of Getty Images, with thanks