Tears and pride as scintillating Scotland Women qualify for World Cup after crushing Colombia in play-off

Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm has declared it “the best feeling I have felt in my entire life” after she led Scotland to their first women’s Rugby World Cup in 12 years with a win in the final qualifier on Friday.

Scotland Women will be at the World Cup later this year.
Scotland Women will be at the World Cup later this year.

The squad booked their place at the showpiece event in New Zealand later in October and November with a comfortable 59-3 win over Colombia in Dubai.

Scotland have not been to the ‘big dance’ since 2010, but will now be playing against the hosts, Australia and Wales in Pool A of the 12-team tournament in seven and a half months time after this professional showing.

Bryan Easson’s charges, ninth in the world, were in control from minute one in The Sevens Stadium against 25th in the world Colombia.

They scored nine tries and, at 28-3 up at the break, were always on top.

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And back-row Malcolm, 30, said: “This is the best feeling I have felt in my entire life.

“As a wee girl I dreamt of playing with a thistle on my shirt and to go out there and play with some of my best mates and perform like that to get us to a World Cup, well I really am struggling to put into words just how much it means to myself and this group.

“We are so passionate about leaving this set-up in a better place and what we have done here is massive in terms of what can happen for Scottish women’s rugby in the future, little girls watching can now aspire to go to a World Cup.

“I am just feeling every emotion under the sun going through me right now, I am over the moon and I am so, so proud of the group.”

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Given the emotional challenges this squad has had in the last couple of years, with the pandemic followed by the passing of their team mate Siobhan Cattigan aged just 26 in November, a teary Malcolm also paid tribute to the backroom team.

“I’m so proud of our management, I couldn’t ask for more in terms of what they’ve given us in these last two years and I can’t emphasise that enough,” she explains.

“Head coach Bryan Easson has been phenomenal as has team manager Ellen Dickson. What we’ve been through as a squad and how those two in particular have rallied round us, well it’s just been a massive squad/everyone effort.

Easson adds: “I thought the performance here showed what we are all about, the girls were professional from the first minute and we will enjoy this moment.”

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After the players paid tribute to Cattigan by placing her shirt in front of them during the anthems, two early penalties from stand-off Sarah Law and then unconverted tries came from centre Lisa Thomson and winger Megan Gaffney gave them a 16-0 lead.

Winger Rhona Lloyd scored next and then winger Maria Isabel Arzuaga kicked a penalty for Colombia.

Before the break Law scored a converted try and Scotland were 28-3 up at the interval.

Gaffney, No.8 Jade Konkel, hooker Lana Skeldon, replacement Evie Wills and fellow sub Molly Wright bagged tries in the second period.

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The squad were due to fly out of Dubai in the early hours of Saturday and, all being well, will be at BT Murrayfield to watch the men play this afternoon.

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