Scotland Women qualified for the 2010 World Cup in England today (21 May) with a 38-18 win over the Netherlands in the FIRA European Championship.
The sides exchanged kicks early on before two tries from hooker Sarah-Louise Walker and number 8 Susie Brown put Scotland in front, however a late penalty kick and unconverted try from the Dutch meant the game was very much up for grabs at the interval.
A second-half hat-trick from full-back Lucy Millard – which took her European Championship tally to nine tries in three games – sealed the win for the Scots before a consolation try came in from Holland at the death.
Scotland took the lead after seven minutes when scrum-half Sarah Gill registered the first points of the game however the evenly fought encounter was brought level after another seven minutes when the Netherlands capitalised on a similar opportunity, 3-3.
After 25 minutes Scotland earned their and the game’s first try.
A lineout deep in the Dutch half was caught and driven from eight metres and the forwards powered over, hooker Sarah-Louise Walker hung on tight to secure her first try for Scotland which Gill converted, 10-3.
Eight minutes from the interval number 8 Susie Brown added Scotland’s second of the half.
A break in midfield allowed centre Laura Steven to pass wide to Millard who offloaded to the supporting Brown who ran in from 15 metres.
Gill added the extras to put Scotland 17-3 up before a late Netherlands penalty kick and unconverted try put the sides in 17-11 at half-time.
Half time: 17-11
With the game in contention there was a nervous start to the second-half with no scoring for 23 minutes until try-machine Millard ran three of her trade-mark show-stopping tries on the 63rd, 66th and 73rd minute – the second of which was an outstanding individual break from her own 22 as she jinked, dodged and sprinted her way to the opposition try line for the phenomenal score.
Gill converted two of the tries to complete a flawless kicking display before replacement Louise Dalgliesh slotted the third to complete the scoring and secure qualification for the 2010 World Cup as European Championship Pool A winners.
Full time: 38-18
Scotland coach Jamie Dempsey, said: “The performance was fantastic, we played against a very fit, big athletic Dutch side and, particularly in the second-half, we managed to control the game in terms of territory and possession while gaining parity in the physical exchanges.
“This win is massive, we want to be a tier one nation in the women’s game. This is the first time there has ever been a qualification process of the World Cup and for us to get there is a massive achievement.
“But we’ve got to go there and perform. We’ve got to go there and surpass what we’ve done in previous World Cups. The squad’s got the capability to do that but the hard work starts now.
“In terms of women’s rugby nationwide hopefully everyone can get behind us and support us because these girls put in an awful lot of effort and are some of the best individuals you are likely to see in a sports team.”
Scotland team v Netherlands in Enkoping, Sweden on Saturday 23 May
Lucy Millard (Murrayfield Wanderers), Cara D’Silva (Royal High Corstorphine), Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Suzi Newton (Team Northumbria / Blaydon), Veronica Fitzpatrick (Richmond), Tanya Griffith (Royal High Corstorphine), Sarah Gill (Murrayfield Wanderers), Heather Lockhart (Hillhead / Jordanhill), Sarah-Louise Walker (Watsonians), Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lana Blyth (Murrayfield Wanderers), Louise Moffat (Kirkcaldy), Lynne Reid CAPTAIN (Royal High Corstorphine), Susie Brown (Hillhead / Jordanhill), Donna Kennedy (Worcester)
Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers) on for Walker (75’), Ellen Beattie (Murrayfield Wanderers) on for Dickens (74’), Keri Holdsworth (Watsonians) on for Blyth (HT), Nikki McLeod (Edinburgh University) on for Reid (72’), Louise Dalgliesh (Royal high Corstorphine) on for Gill (68’), Erin Kerr (Richmond) on for Griffith (43’), Victoria Blakebrough (Richmond) on for D’Silva (38’)
Notes to editors:
Martin Currie are the proud sponsor of Scotland Women’s and age-grade rugby
Finishing top of Pool A means Scotland Women have qualified for the 2010 World Cup in England
Our picture shows Scotland's hat-trick heroine, Lucy Millard.