A spectacular length-of-the-pitch try by Chloe Rollie gave Scotland their first win in this year’s Six Nations yesterday and their first on the road in the Championship since 2006.
Ireland had fallen 8-0 behind early in the second half when Helen Nelson added a try to her first-half penalty, but they then fought back with a penalty try and were threatening to score again around the hour mark when their captain, Ciara Griffin, popped up a loose pass five metres out. Full-back Rollie, pictured, seized the ball and sprinted downfield, swerving round full-back Kim Flood then crossing the line just as winger Hannah Tyrrell got to her. Lana Skeldon converted to put Scotland 15-7 up and, although Paula Fitzgerald pulled a try back for Ireland ten minutes from time, Shade Munro’s side held on for a deserved victory.
After winning twice at home in 2017, Scotland had lost their first three games in this year’s tournament, but might well have won in Wales instead of losing 18-17 had they not started so tentatively. They made no mistake here yesterday, surprising Ireland with the tempo of their play early on, then giving evidence of their burgeoning self-confidence by seeing out the win against opponents who had beaten them last year at Broadwood with a last-minute score.
Scotland had last avoided defeat away from home against Italy in 2010, four years after they won in both Ireland and Spain, but from then until last year lost every Six Nations game home and away. Having won those two fixtures in 2017, this was the next step they had to take to prove their continuing progress as a squad, and they took it in some style.
“Twelve years is definitely a long time,” said Rollie. “To finally get an away win, and against Ireland as well, is a great achievement. I think any game that we perform well in, any game that we win, is a step forward, but to get the away win as well is a huge achievement.”
Munro added: “The desire is there. They don’t just capitulate when something doesn’t go well. The scrum didn’t go particularly well at certain periods. That would normally have been enough to finish them off. There’s a more positive attitude. That was a game we’d normally have lost. We’ve won against a good team.”