Women's Six Nations: Scotland 'sat off England far too much' as lessons taken from 57-5 defeat

Scotland head coach Bryan Easson was frustrated that his side “sat off England far too much” in the first half of a 57-5 loss in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations on Saturday.

However, he was much more impressed with the energetic showing in the second period and wants to take those positives into the Wales game next week in Cardiff.

In front of a record crowd for a Scotland Women’s international of 3,988 at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh, world number one side England led 38-5 at half-time.

Easson said: “We sat off England far too much and gave them too much time in the first half.

Scotland's Hannah Smith is tackled by England's Amber Reed during the TikTok Women's Six Nations opener at the DAM Health Stadium. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

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“When you are playing against the best sides what you can’t do is make unforced errors - one mistake, turned into two or three here and you will get punished for that.

“We were not happy with that first half performance, but we will take a lot of lessons forward.

“In terms of positives, I thought the scrum and lineout were excellent. We created four or five good chances - and scored one - in the first half and made three or four chances in the second half.”

England started purposefully, but it was Scotland who had the first chance.

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A penalty was awarded in the sixth minute and although stand-off Helen Nelson’s kick had the legs, it drifted wide.

The first points did come in the ninth minute when English back-row Marlie Packer went over for a try with centre Emily Scarratt converting.

Try number two game in the 13th minute when fellow back-row Poppy Cleall went over, again converted by Scarratt.

Scotland had to get a foothold in things and they did three minutes later when centre Hannah Smith fed full-back Chloe Rollie for a try. Nelson could not convert, but it was 14-5.

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By the 25th minute England had added two more tries to secure an early four try bonus, wingers Heather Cowell and Abby Dow scoring, Scarratt converting the second to make it 26-6.

Things got worse for the home side just after the half hour mark when Packer scored a second of the game which was unconverted.

England’s sixth try, scored by scrum-half Leanne Infante and converted by Scarratt made it 38-5 at the interval.

Scotland were down on the scoreboard, but they started the second period strongly and in the 47th minute they looked like they might have scored a second try.

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From a lineout near to the England line, back-row Rachel McLachlan went over for the ‘score’, but it was ruled out after referee Joy Neville conferred with the TMO where a blatant knock-on was spotted.

Try number seven soon came for England when centre Holly Aitchison went over and Scarratt converted.

That made it 45-5, but Scotland were certainly more in things than in the first 40.

The hour mark came and went, but Scotland could not get their second try and England – with their powerful replacements coming on – hit another gear.

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Try eight came through sub hooker Connie Powell – converted by stand-off Helena Rowland – and then player of the match Packer secured her hat-trick with an unconverted effort.

That made it 57-5, but Scotland had a strong last 10 minutes.

There was also time for Edinburgh University stand-off Meryl Smith to make a full debut too.

Scotland: Chloe Rollie; Rhona Lloyd, Hannah Smith, Lisa Thomson, Megan Gaffney; Helen Nelson, Jenny Maxwell; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (C), Rachel McLachlan, Jade Konkel. Subs: Molly Wright, Lisa Cockburn, Katie Dougan, Lyndsay O’Donnell, Eva Donaldson, Sarah Law, Meryl Smith, Shona Campbell.

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England: Ellie Kildunne; Heather Cowell, Emily Scarratt, Holly Aitchison, Abby Dow; Helena Rowland, Leanne Infante; Maud Muir, Lark Davies, Sarah Bern, Rosie Galligan Abbie Ward, Poppy Cleall, Marlie Packer, Sarah Hunter (C). Subs: Connie Powell, Vickii Cornborough, Bryony Cleall, Sarah Beckett, Alex Matthews, Lucy Packer, Amber Reed, Emma Sing.

Scorers:

Scotland: Try: Rollie.

England: Tries: Packer (3), P Cleall, Cowell, Dow, Infante, Aitchison, Powell. Cons: Scarratt (5), Rowland.

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Referee: Joy Neville (Ireland).

Attendance: 3,988.

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