Scotland Women 33 - 10 Netherlands Women

A strong performance, full of self-belief, from an invigorated Scotland Women side saw them putting five tries past their Dutch counterparts in Amsterdam this afternoon with a final scoreline of 33-10 to the Scots.

One of four debut caps, Stirling County winger Sarah Dixon, crossed the line with only three minutes on the clock, followed by a brace apiece from fellow winger Lauren Harris (Melrose) and full back Steph Johnston (RHC). Centre Caroline Collie (OA Saints) added the extras with two penalties and a conversion.

Head coach Karen Findlay said: "It's just agreat day. I'm absolutely delighted for the girls. After putting in so much hard work over the summer, we came out today and showed the rugby we're capable of playing."

Photos: Lynn van Diest  

A lingering mist around the National Rugby centre in Amsterdam was quickly dispersed by a fast-paced, end-to-end diplay of running rugby from Scotland Women as they defeated their Dutch counterparts.

It took just three minutes for their first points to be posted as a textbook move from the training pitch saw a break from flanker Ruth Slaven, with Steph Johnston in support, finished off by debut cap, Sarah Dixon. Though the conversion attempt skewed right of the posts, centre Caroline Collie's next kick was on target, the penalty on 10 minutesputting the Scots ahead, 8-0.

The home side immediately fought back but Scotland countered the attack and defended solidly; a series of pick-and-goes culminated, however, in the Dutch touching down after 15 minutes, the try from flanker Gunner to make it 5-8.

Within five minutes th Scots had effectively cancelled out that score with another try, this time from full back Steph Johnston. With the Netherlands penalised for a knock-on, Collie booted the ball into touch near the Dutch 22. Good hands and solid teamwork saw Johnston go on to cross in the corner, Collie's conversionjust coming up short. (5-13)

Another knock-on by the Dutch at the restart saw Scotland gain the advantage again with a blistering series of runs up the wing, though the ball was subsequently turned over. With the Scots continuing to put in some great tackles, on the half-hour mark a great run from Collie and an offload to winger Lauren Harris led to the first of her two tries, the extras successfully added by Collie (5-20). Five minute later an offside against the Dutch gave Collie the chance to add a further three points, the penalty slotted successfully giving the Scots a 23-5 lead at half time.



Four changes for the home side going into the second half did nothing to deter Scotland's efforts and with four minutes gone, Johnston scored her second try to extend the lead to 28-5. Intense pressure by the pack and a determined run from captain Tracy Balmerheralded Scotland first two substitutions, Melrose's Lana Skeldon making her debut in place of Charlie Veale and Jemma Forsyth replacing Kath Muir.

The backs then took advantage of a gap in Dutch proceedings and Lauren Harris shot through to score her second try, with 20 minutes left on the clock putting the Scots 31-5 ahead.

A raft of replacements came on for both team over the next period, Megan Gaffney replacing Harris in the 68th minute, so being the fourth new cap of the afternoon for Scotland. 

Both side maintained the pressure and speed in the final ten minutes, with Johnston putting in a great try-saving tackle; in the last minute, however, the Dutch took advantage of a lapse in the Scots' defence for a try through substitute Misseldine to make the final score 33-10.

Head coach Finlay added: "I was really delighted for the players becaise they've spent so much time working in the gym, specialist sessions on Tuesday evening, summer camps, the Scotland Series games and a training camp.

"To close off a game, to be up 23-5 at half time, everybody's played and we made a significant number of changes in the second half, I feel we've turned a massive corner. All the new faces have now had some game time at this level; Lana Skeldon fitted into the back row like she's been there for ages and she really linked in well with Lindsay Wheeler at 8 and Ruth Slaven at 7. Megan showed some really outstanding pace and was good in defence on the wing. And Susie Hex has come on well in the front row. She changed positions in April and has really done her job.

"I'm absolutely chuffed to bits." 

Scotland Women v Netherlands Women on Sunday 6 November at the National Rugby Centre in Amsterdam, kick-off 1pm local time.

15 Stephanie Johnston (RHC)
14 Lauren Harris (Melrose)
13 Caroline Collie (OA Saints)
12 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
11 Sarah Dixon (Stirling County) * debut
10 Lisa Ritchie (Carlisle)
 9 Sarah Sexton (Murrayfield Wanderers) *debut

1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead / Jordanhill)
2 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers)
3 Tracy Balmer (Worcester) (captain)
4 Katherine Muir (Richmond)
5 Anna Swan (RHC)
6 Charlotte Veale (London Wasps)
7 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
8 Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond)

Substitutes
16 Alison Macdonald (RHC) (on for Quick, 68m)
17 Suzanne McKerlie-Hex (Murrayfield Wanderers) (on for Lockhart, 60m)
18 Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead / Jordanhill) (on for Muir, 52m)
19 Lana Skeldon (Melrose) (on for Veale, 52m) *debut
20 Tess Forsberg (Richmond) (on for Slaven, 72m)
21 Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers) (on for Collie, 58m)
22 Megan Gaffney (Murrayfield Wanderers) (on for Harris, 68m) *debut

Injured
Susie Brown (Richmond) travelled with the team
Hollie Davidson (Edinburgh University)

Netherlands Women 
1. Xandra Benthem de Grave, RUS (captain)
2. Eva van Asseldonk,  NRC The Wasps
3. Sylke Haverkorn, RC Zwolle
4. Selina Tukker, RFC Haarlem
5. Asia Udding, RUS
6. Yael Belder, NRC the Wasps
7. Yasmin Gunner, RC The Bassets
8. Shereza Pool, SRC Thor
9. Giselle Kleinen, RC The Bassets
10. Anita Clarke, Amsterdamse AC
11. Fenna Stomps, RUS
12. Carin van der Heiden, RC The Bassets
13. Lyske van der Brug, SRC Thor
14. Alexia Mavroudis, RC Eemland
15. Elizabeth Geertsema, Amsterdamse AC

16. Hadewijch van Hilten, RUS
17. Nicole Misseldine, AAC
18. Sarah Toll, AAC
19. Maaike Loth, RC Waterland
20. Roos Van Beurden, RUS
21. Mae-Ling Stuyt, RC Eemland
22. Irith Lely, SRC Thor (not used)

Referee: Claire Daniels (RFU)
Assistant referees: Gert Visser and Darron Wadey (NED)
4th official: Thomas Muldoon (NED)
Match commissioner: Freek Burger (SARFU)