"Pain to gain," was coach Lee Adamson's succinct summary of a heavy defeat for the Scotland Women's team at Hughenden this afternoon as their Canadian visitors, many battle-hardened at the end of their season, ran in eight tries.
This early in Scotland's campaign Adamson did not view the result as a calamity. The game's been an invaluable experience, exposing the players to a very stern test against good opposition.
"This is part of the building process towards the six nations and we'll be stronger for the experience. It was good for the younger and inexperienced girls who came into the squad (by full-time Scotland had introduced a total of five new caps) to test themselves in real competitive action,â€ he said.
Canada's quick-witted stand-off Anna Schnell set the visitors on their way with a fourth minute offside penalty, following up three minutes later with their first try. She finished off centre Sarah Ulmer's break off scrum ball to dot down.
Canada, many of whose players are at the end of their season and blessed with consequent game sharpness, added try number two on the 11th minute. Left wing Maria Gallo made the break, openside flanker Gillian Florence supported and centre Mandy Marchuk crossed. The third try was registered before the opening quarter had ended, prop Marlene Donaldson barging over from a close-range lineout.
Scotland's half-back link lacked their visitors'slickness but scrum-half Louise Dalgliesh put points on the board with a 23rd minute penalty after Canada had killed ball under their posts.
The contrast was demonstrated most harshly two minutes later. Suzi Newton's touch-finding attempt was seized by Canadian No 8 Katie Murray and from her ruck provision, Schnell set off on a thunderous counter-attack, Marchuk linked and Gallo claimed their fourth try.
From 3-23 at half-time the Scots then suffered at the hands of the match officials as, on the intervention of touch-judge David Walker, centre Ronnie Fitzpatrick was yellow-carded for what might have been termed as tame handbags at any level. Would that the referee have been quite so zealous at Canada's persistent side entry at the breakdown.
There was an inevitability that Canada would score in the subsequent plays, No 8 Katie Murray driving over.
Scotland did rouse themselves and after a spirited driving maul, captain Jilly McCord was tackled at the corner flag. Another chance loomed but substitute No 8 Sonia Cull knocked on as she attempted to pick-up from a close-range scrum.
Canada added three tries in the final quarter through flanker Jen Kish, left wing Gallo, her second, and livewire scrum-half Laura Stoughton, Schnell converting Kish's score.
Scotland Women: Lyndsey Douglas (Richmond); Cara D'Silva, Ronnie Fitzpatrick (both RHC), Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Vic Blakebrough (Richmond); Suzi Newton (Blaydon), Louise Dalgliesh (RHC); Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Sarah-Louise Walker (Watsonians), Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), Jilly McCord (RHC) CAPTAIN, Lana Blyth (Murrayfield Wanderers), Joan Hutchison (GHA), Louise Moffat, Lynne Reid (both RHC).
Subs: Lindsay Wheeler (Blaydon) for Hutchison, Sonia Cull (RHC) for Moffat and Hazel Bielinski (Hillhead/Jordanhill) for Steven (all 40 mins), Alison Macdonald (RHC) for Walker (52 mins), Ellen Beattie (Murrayfield Wanderers) for Dickens (70 mins), Sarah Gill
(Murrayfield Wanderers) for Dalgliesh (80 mins). Unused: Sandra Bell (Watsonians)
Scotland's new caps: Steven, Blakebrough, Macdonald, Beattie and Gill
Canada Women: Ashley Petzer; Julianne Zussman, Mandy Marchuk, Sarah Ulmer, Maria Gallo; Anna Schnell, Laura Stoughton; Leslie Cripps CAPTAIN, Nat Bendavid, Marlene Donaldson, Kelly Russell, Marie-Eve Brindamour-Carnigan, Jen Kish, Katie Murray, Gillian Florence.
Subs: Megan Gibbs for Katie Murray and Heather Jacques for Florence (both 60 mins), Barb Mervin on for Kish and Megan Murtrie for Schnell (both 63 mins), Heather MacDonald for Donaldson (69 mins), Lesley McKenzie for Russell (75 mins). Unused: Julia Sugawara
Referee: David Jones (Wales)
Martin Currie Scotland player of the match: Heather Lockhart