Scotland Women took to the penultimate step towards World Cup qualification with a convincing 71-0 victory over Belgium in the FIRA European Championship in Enkoping, Sweden.
With eight tries in the first 40 minutes which included a Donna Kennedy hat-trick, a brace each from Lucy Millard and Cara D’Silva, and a single effort from Veronica Fitzpatrick, it was evident that Scotland had the game under control from the outset.
A second-half brace from the prolific Millard saw her match her personal haul against Sweden earlier this year either side of a try from Emma Evans
Scotland got off to the perfect start with two quick tap efforts from Millard and Kennedy putting Scotland 14-0 up after just four minutes. Sarah Gill making both opening conversion attempts.
After a remarkable opening period the tries kept coming for Scotland. The back three demonstrated their talents with tries from Fitzpatrick (11 minutes) and a sensational individual effort from full-back Lucy Millard (13 minutes).
With just over a quarter of the match played Kennedy grabbed two tries to complete her first half hat-trick. Gill continued her success rate at goal bringing the score to 35-0 – in the meantime Lana Blyth had been forced off the park with an ankle injury and was replaced by substitute Louise Moffat.
There was still time for two tries from right wing Cara D’Silva before half time, unfortunately Gill could not continue on her immaculate kicking display, missing both efforts at goal.
Half time: 52-0
A string of changes occurred after play resumed, Victoria Blakebrough replaced Fitzpatrick, captain – and Scotland Women’s Player of the Season – Lynne Reid made way for Ruth Slaven and Tanya Griffith went off for Suzi Newton, with Kerr filling the vacancy at fly-half.
The opening exchanges saw Millard complete her hat trick to extend Scotland’s lead to 59-0 while both teams also incurred yellow cards for indiscipline.
Further substitutions with 65 minutes on the clock allowed Roz Murphy to gain her first cap coming on for Heather Lockhart at prop, while Steven made way for Emma Evans, who scored after just five minutes on the pitch.
Gill could not find the mark with her kick.
Millard had time to snatch one more, boosting her personal try tally to four, as the match finished 71-0.
Full time: 71-0
Scotland Women Head Coach, Jamie Dempsey said: “It was a great collective team performance with the forwards creating a stable platform for the backs to work from.
“The tempo with which we played the game was too high for the Belgium side to deal with.
“Although we have scored over 155 points in two matches, we must not become complacent against Holland. On Saturday our defence will be the key as it has not been put under any continuous pressure thus far in the tournament.”
Scotland Women: Lucy Millard (Murrayfield Wanderers) vice-captain; Cara D’Silva (RHC), Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers) (Evans 65), Erin Kerr (Richmond), Veronica Fitzpatrick (RHC) (Blakebrough 46); Tanya Griffith (RHC) (Newton 46); Sarah Gill (Murrayfield Wanderers); Heather Lockhart (Hillhead / Jordanhill) (Murphy 65), Sarah-Louise Walker (Watsonians) (Quick 55), Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lana Blyth (Murrayfield Wanderers) (Moffat 23), Lindsay Wheeler (Team Northumbria / Blaydon), Lynne Reid (RHC) captain (Slaven 52), Susie Brown (Hillhead / Jordanhill), Donna Kennedy (Worcester)
Replacements (all used): Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), Roz Murphy (Edinburgh University), Louise Moffat (Kirkcaldy), Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Emma Evans (Watsonians), Suzi Newton (Team Northumbria / Blaydon), Victoria Blakebrough (Richmond)