Women's Six Nations: Scottish pride after record-setting Cardiff victory as tribute paid to 19-year-old debutant

First victory on Welsh soil in 20 years shows how far Scotland have come

Scotland winger Rhona Lloyd was proud of the composure shown on Saturday to secure a record seventh Test win in a row in all competitions – and she believes the squad can only go from strength to strength now.

The 27-year-old GB Sevens flyer scored a crucial try in the second half – her 22nd in 47 caps – to help the Scots post a 20-18 victory over Wales in Cardiff to get their Guinness Women’s Six Nations campaign off to a flying start.

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On top of that, it means the side are now unbeaten since April last year, seven triumphs on the spin beating six set by the team of 1997/98, and it was a first positive result on Welsh soil since 2004.

Scotland's Coreen Grant gets past Wales' Jenny Hesketh during the Six Nations opener in Cardiff.Scotland's Coreen Grant gets past Wales' Jenny Hesketh during the Six Nations opener in Cardiff.
Scotland's Coreen Grant gets past Wales' Jenny Hesketh during the Six Nations opener in Cardiff.

“I am really proud of the team and how far we have come,” Lloyd said. “We knew it was going to be a really tough match in Cardiff, it’s always close between us and Wales, so I’m just so proud of our composure, our game management at the end as we ground out those phases, played in the right areas and held our nerve.

“It’s felt so calm and collected all week in the build up and that was how it felt from minute one to minute 80 on the pitch.”

The squad may have felt calm, but Wales so nearly grabbed a draw in the 79th minute only for a conversion to drift wide with supporters biting their fingernails. Still, Scotland deserved a bit of luck for the way they had played at Cardiff Arms Park.

Scotland are now preparing to meet world number three France in round two at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh on Saturday – and the attack is looking sharp. As well as Lloyd, fellow winger Coreen Grant scored a try versus Wales while centre Emma Orr and full-back Meryl Smith were constant threats.

“We’ve got a lot of amazing finishers on our team,” Lloyd said. “Coreen was absolutely outstanding on Saturday and depth-wise we’re in a really good place.

“Meryl Smith, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Helen Nelson; their ball-playing ability is absolutely world class and that is why we’re seeing the finishers score more tries because of players like that.

“If I compared the tries I was scoring in my first couple of years playing for Scotland to now, it’s night and day, because I’m getting so many more opportunities with the girls that are in the team.”

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Meanwhile, head coach Bryan Easson paid tribute to 19-year-old back-rower Alex Stewart on her debut. The teen was yellow carded late on, but before that she looked at home on the big stage.

“Alex was excellent, you wouldn’t think she has only been around the squad for four weeks,” Easson said of his new number seven who was not born the last time Scotland won in Cardiff. “Genuinely she played well above the levels that she has done before, but at a level that we know she is capable of. She really was excellent and she has a big future.

“I also want to pay tribute to Coreen Grant who is a very smart rugby player and to Helen Nelson whose 100 per cent kicking was crucial.”

Hooker Lana Skeldon (head) and second-row Sarah Bonar (arm) were forced off in the second half and Easson said their injuries will be assessed at the start of the week.

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