Scotland Women opened their FIRA European Championship account with a storming 14-try victory over Russia in Enkoping, Sweden today (84-0).
Scotland scorched into a 55-0 lead at the interval with eight players running in nine tries.
They then continued their fine form into the second-half with a further five tries which saw full-back Lucy Millard complete her hat-trick with number 8 Susie Brown and winger Cara D’Silva getting a brace.
Scotland opened the scoring after just five minutes when Brown picked from the scrum and powered forward before offloading to D’Silva who finished the move off with an unconverted score.
They then continued to pressure Russia’s scrum and four minutes later fly-half Tanya Griffith stepped inside, broke the defensive line and off-loaded to centre Laura Steven who put flanker Donna Kennedy through for a try with which to celebrate her 101st starting Scotland cap.
Sarah Gill nudged the conversion to put Scotland 12-0 up.
Steven then turned from provider to scorer when she came on to a Millard flat pass to score, before Gill converted.
Scotland continued their relentless attack, with the forwards playing fast, off-loading rugby and linking well with the backs. Brown then broke from the base of the scrum once again with a swerving run and dove over for an unconverted try.
A Lucy Millard brace either side of a training ground two on one score from second-row Lana Blyth score was followed by a Suzie Newton try to complete the first half rout.
Half time: 55-0
Soon after kick-off Russia were awarded a penalty and secured a lineout however Steven halted the resulting attack with a big tackle and turn over. After being awarded a scrum the ball found its way to Fitzpatrick whose speed out wide ensured an early try for Scotland.
Scotland were again on the scoresheet moments later when the forwards generated quick ball from a lineout. The ball was spun wide through the backs to D’Silva who registered her second.
Gill added the extras.
Eighteen year-old Sarah Quick – fresh from her Premier league, cup, and under-18 cup treble – then took to the field in place of hooker Sarah-Louise Walker for her first full international Scotland cap.
Minutes later Brown completed her brace before replacements Erin Kerr and Louise Moffat crossed over for a try a piece to complete the scoring.
Scotland Head Coach, Jamie Dempsey, said: “The fact that we turned up, played well, posted a big score and lay down a marker was really encouraging.
“We had set ourselves the task of imposing ourselves on the game and we took that to the field. They [Russia] had to step up to our intensity and experience from the 6 Nations and previous World Cups as we certainly didn’t lower our performance at any stage. We got on top early, we were quite ruthless and really pressed home that advantage right the way through the whole match.
“We were far more physical in the contact area, we had greater accuracy and we had a greater awareness of what we were collectively trying to do as a group – and that was the real difference between the two teams from early on.
“I pointed out to Sarah [Quick] that not many people get the opportunity to go on and play for their country – let alone when the pressure is off the result – but she went on and she performed admirably, nothing seems to phase her and she coped really well – she was actually really unlucky not to score.”
Scotland next face Belgium in Pool A, who were today defeated heavily by Scotland’s final opponents, the Netherlands.
Dempsey added: “We have to go into the Belgium game with confidence. We have to make sure that we perform to the levels that we set and that we don’t take them lightly because they’ll be hurting after being on the wrong end of quite a high score.
“It’s really important that we turn up and set our standards. We set them high today and that’s something we’re looking to carry on for the rest of the tournament.”
Scotland squad to face Russia in Stockholm, Sweden, on Sunday 17 May (kick-off 1pm)
15 Lucy Millard VICE CAPTAIN (Murrayfield Wanderers)
14 Cara d’Silva (RHC)
13 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
12 Suzi Newton (Team Northumbria / Blaydon)
11 Veronica Fitzpatrick (RHC)
10 Tanya Griffith (RHC)
9 Sarah Gill (Murrayfield Wanderers)
1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead / Jordanhill)
2 Sarah-Louise Walker (Watsonians)
3 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers)
4 Lana Blyth (Murrayfield Wanderers)
5 Lindsay Wheeler (Team Northumbria / Blaydon)
6 Lynne Reid CAPTAIN (RHC)
8 Susie Brown (Hillhead / Jordanhill)
7 Donna Kennedy (Worcester)
16 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers)
17 Ellen Beattie (Murrayfield Wanderers)
18 Louise Moffat (Kirkcaldy)
19 Keri Holdsworth (Watsonians)
20 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
21 Louise Dalgliesh (RHC)
22 Erin Kerr (Richmond)
FIRA Championship: Day one scores
Scotland 84 - 0 Russia (Pool A)
Holland 100 - 0 Belgium (Pool A)
Italy 14 - 16 Sweden (Pool B)
Spain 74 - 0 Germany (Pool B)
• Martin Currie are the proud sponsor of Scotland Women’s and age-grade rugby
FIRA European Championship – the winner of each pool will be qualified to WRWC 2010 (no knock-out stage)
FIRA European Championship schedule (times are local)
Scotland Women v Belgium Wednesday 20 May (kick-off 4pm)
Scotland Women v Netherlands Saturday 23 May (kick-off 1pm)