Scotland Women’s skipper Tracy Balmer tried to put a brave face on things after this thumping defeat by Ireland at Broadwood Stadium yesterday, but the prop could not hide her disappointment.
The 73-3 victory for the visitors gave them their second Six Nations trophy in three years, but, for the Scots, it completed the fifth season in a row that they have failed to win a match in the competition.
As with all of the matches in recent weeks, at times Scotland competed well and, in No 8 Jade Konkel and full-back Chloe Rollie, they have two exciting prospects. There is certainly no lack of effort on the part of the players, but they struggled with the physicality and the pace of the Irish who went on to score 11 tries.
Balmer said: “Obviously this game is not one that we will remember fondly, but I would rather look back on the championship as a whole and see where improvements have been made.
“Last summer we were at the start of a three-year plan and Scottish Rugby have really backed us and, as one of the experienced players, I have been really impressed by what I have seen from the younger ones coming through.
“They have stepped up into international rugby and, at times, shown what they can do and I think, in the weeks and months to come, they will take great confidence from that.” Ireland skipper Niamh Briggs was her side’s star performer on her 50th appearance. She scored a try, two penalties and six conversions in the win and said: “This is a great feeling. We knew that Scotland would come at us hard and really make us work, but once we got our game going the guys scored some great tries.
“The standard of women’s rugby is improving all the time, so to lift the trophy means a lot.”
Ireland needed to win by 27 clear points to beat France to the title and they led 8-0 before Scotland pulled back three points thanks to a penalty by winger Nuala Deans in the 14th minute.
Ireland, for whom second-row Sophie Spence was outstanding, added four tries before the interval to lead 37-3. Six tries came after the break, Alison Miller completing her hat-trick, before the celebrations began.
Scorers: Scotland – Pen: Deans. Ireland – Tries: Briggs, Molloy, O’Brien, Bourke, Miller (3), Fitzpatrick, Spence, Rosser, Murphy. Pens: Briggs (2). Cons: Briggs (6).
Scotland Women: C Rollie; N Deans, G Inglis, H Smith, E Sinclair; L Martin, S Law; L Robertson, L Skeldon, T Balmer, D McCormack, E Wassell, R Cook, J Konkel, K Dunbar. Subs used: L Smith, H Lockhart, F Sim, L O’Donnell, M Grieve, C Bain, J Maxwell.
Ireland Women: N Briggs; H Tyrrell, J Murphy, J Shiels, A Miller; N Stapleton, L Muldoon; R O’Reilly, G Bourke, A Egan, S Spence, ML Reilly, P Fitzpatrick, H O’Brien, C Molloy. Subs used: S Mimnagh, F Hayes, F O’Brien, O Fitzsimons, K Norris, T Rosser, S Naoupu, A Doyle.
Referee: J Beard.
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