Much-improved Scotland beat Wales to secure fifth place in Women’s Six Nations

Scotland put in a much-improved performance to secure a vital 27-20 win over Wales at Scotstoun and finish fifth in the Women’s Six Nations.
Celebrations for Scotland during the Six Nations win over Wales at Scotstoun. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNSCelebrations for Scotland during the Six Nations win over Wales at Scotstoun. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Celebrations for Scotland during the Six Nations win over Wales at Scotstoun. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

Three tries in the first 40 minutes set-up this morale-boosting victory and the triumph was Scotland’s first in the tournament since they won away in Ireland in March 2018 and their first ever at Scotstoun.

After defeats by England and, more disappointingly, Italy earlier in the tournament this result also leaves Scotland with plenty of positives to build on ahead of World Cup qualifiers which are likely to be held later in the year.

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Head coach Bryan Easson said: “We had a heart to heart after last week’s Italy loss and I am pleased for the girls that they put in this performance.

“Our defence was much better and we built from there and were on top for most of the game.

“This will give us belief going forward.”

The Scots had got off to sluggish starts in their pool losses, but they looked hungry in attack early on in this game on Super Saturday.

Full-back Chloe Rollie and winger Megan Gaffney were going searching for the ball and it was the latter who scored a try after a good team move in the fifth minute. Skipper Helen Nelson, inset, later named player of the match, missed the conversion.

Wales’ first chance to score points came in the 15th minute when they won a penalty after a high tackle. Stand-off Robyn Wilkins missed the attempt at goal though.

With their speedy full-back Jasmin Joyce causing problems with ball in hand, Wales did win another penalty in the 21st minute and Wilkins made no mistake this time.

Scotland No.8 Siobhan Cattigan was then forced off for an HIA with Jodie Rettie coming on.

Wales were on the front foot now and in the 25th minute Wilkins had a third kickable penalty attempt. It went over and they had battled into a 6-5 advantage.

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Scotland had to wrestle momentum back and they did so with a try in the 29th minute. After Gaffney had gone close, tighthead prop Megan Kennedy burrowed over for her first Test try. Nelson converted and it was 12-6.

Five minutes later, just as Cattigan returned to the field from her HIA, Scotland bagged their third try.

It was another first Test five pointer, this time for loosehead prop Christine Belisle and although it was unconverted the home side were 11 points up at half-time 17-6.

Wales knew they had to get the first score in the second period - and they did.

After 42 minutes winger Lisa Neumann found space out wide and went in for a try which was superbly converted by Wilkins and it was 17-13.

Scotland regrouped and showed great composure in the Welsh ‘22’ for back-row Evie Gallagher to go over for her first Test try. Nelson converted and the 11 point lead was renewed.

With 11 minutes to go a penalty from Nelson stretched the lead to 27-13 before a late converted try from winger Caitlin Lewis for Wales, but it was Scotland’s day.

Scorers. Scotland: Tries: Gaffney (5), Kennedy (29), Belisle (34), Gallagher (53). Cons: Nelson 2 (29, 53). Pen: Nelson (69).

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Wales: Tries: Neumann (42), Lewis (80). Pens: Wilkins 2 (21, 25). Con: Wilkins 2 (42, 80).

Scotland: C Rollie; L Musgrove, H Smith, L Thomson, M Gaffney; H Nelson (C), J Maxwell; C Belisle, L Skeldon, M Kennedy, E Wassell, L McMillan, E Gallagher, R McLachlan, S Cattigan. Subs: J Rettie, L Bartlett, L Cockburn, N Howat, M McDonald, S Law, E Wills, R Shankland.

Wales: J Joyce; L Neumann, G Rowland, H Jones (C), C Lewis; R Wilkins, M Davies; C Thomas, R Lock, D Rose, N John, T Wyn Davies, M Johnes, B Dainton, G Evans. Subs: K Jones, G Jenkins, C Hale, G Crabb, S Powell-Hughes, A Fleming, J Knight, M Webb.

Referee: C Munarini.

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