TikTok Six Nations: Scotland put Ireland firmly in sights as Helen Nelson celebrates milestone day

Scotland will be “absolutely firing and ready to go” as they look to back up Saturday’s cracking win over Italy versus Ireland this coming weekend, according to vice-captain Helen Nelson.
Helen Nelson and Lana Skeldon at full time after Scotland's win over Ireland.Helen Nelson and Lana Skeldon at full time after Scotland's win over Ireland.
Helen Nelson and Lana Skeldon at full time after Scotland's win over Ireland.

After defeats by England, Wales and France to start the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, Scotland finally ended a 12-match losing streak with a 29-21 bonus point victory at the DAM Health Stadium. And with winless Ireland coming to Edinburgh on Saturday evening in the final game of the tournament, Scotland still have a chance of finishing fourth in the table. That would give them a spot in the second ranked event when World Rugby’s new WXV competition gets under way later this year, so there is still plenty to play for.

“Getting ourselves up after a [55-0] loss in France last Sunday with a six-day turnaround was tough, but we went out and put in a great performance versus Italy,” stand-off Nelson said. “I don’t doubt that we will be absolutely firing and ready to go again come Saturday against Ireland. “We still have a chance to finish fourth in the tournament, so if we can back up this win in that one then we will be in a really good place. Against Italy it was obviously great to get the win. We played very, very well in places and we were put under pressure at times, too. Previously we might have folded under that pressure, but overall we came out on top and I think that shows great resolve from the team to ride the storm and get the win.”

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The most pressure Scotland came under was when Italy pulled things back to 24-21 from 24-7. With 15 minutes to go, Italy sub Sara Seye was then sent off, the tighthead prop making head on head contact with Scotland No.8 Jade Konkel-Roberts. The player advantage allowed Scotland to score try number five and see out the important result. On the day tries for the victors came from second-row Louise McMillan, hooker Lana Skeldon (2) and loosehead prop Leah Bartlett (2). Nelson kicked two conversions and it was an extra special day for the 28-year-old was earning her 50th cap.

“It was a class day,” the Loughborough Lightning playmaker said. “I hadn’t really allowed myself to think about the achievement of getting to 50 caps until a couple of days before the game, but the girls have made it really special. We had a meeting and a presentation on Friday night and then on the day Rhona [Lloyd, the GB Sevens player] came in and presented my jersey to me and we had Donna Kennedy [Scotland’s all-time leading cap holder] in as well. I can’t thank them enough for making me feel special, it’s been incredible.

“As a squad it has been a tough year or so. We got to the World Cup and then performances there were perhaps not exactly as we wanted, for me individually and as a team. So, to stick at it – we are putting in so much hard work – we really need to enjoy results like this one and it gives us belief and shows us that our hard work is paying off. We are improving, we are on a journey as a team and we are going in the right direction. All of our focus now is on the Ireland match.”