In Moscow this afternoon Scotland Women 7s reached the final of the Bowl competition at the FIRA World Cup qualifier. While just missing out on the silverware, the side provided one of the most thrilling performances of the weekend (their semi final with Italy), boasted the tournament's third top points scorer (Sarah Dixon) and ensured their participation in European competition next season with a tenth place ranking - not bad for a side less than three months old.
Squad captain Steph Johnston reviews their day two performance and the learning curve of the team's first months together.
Photo: Johnston breaks against Portugal, supported byDixon and Annabel Sergeant.
As third in their pool after day one, Scotland proceeded to the Bowl competition, with an opening quarter-final encounter against Croatia. A much improved performance saw normal service resumed and a 27-0 scoreline in Scotland's favour, a hat-trick of tries from Dixon and one apiece from Johnston and Gaffney, one of the scores converted by Martin.
Team to start: Forsberg, Slaven, Gaffney, Martin, Dixon, Sergeant, Johnston. Subs: Steven, Green and Harris
The semi final, against Italy, saw the Scots 10-5 ahead at half time before allowing the opposition back int the game in the second seven minutes. The hooter had sounded for full time with the ball in the possession of Gaffney, behind the Scotland line. Nothing daunted, the side regrouped, grasped the nettle and had the crowd gasping in amazement as a series of well-worked passes ended up with the ball to Dixon, who tanked down the wing from deep in Scotland's half to cross in the corner, running round to dot down between the posts, so easing the subsequent conversion for Johnston and putting the match into extra time.
Five minutes each way, with the 'golden try' applying, the Scots set out their stall straight away, good numbers working the advancing line of attack. The ball was again unleashed to Dixon who ran the length of the field to launch herself over the line and so win the game, 22-17.
Team to start: Forsberg, Slaven, Gaffney, Martin, Dixon, Sergeant, Johnston. Subs: Steven, Green and Law
The exertions of that semi final took their toll on the team, however, and there was a distinct difference in performance for the Bowl final, with Portugal finding more gas in the tank and ultimately lifting the silverware, despite a try from deep in her own half by Dixon, who was subsequently named third top point scorer (on 45pts) in the tournament. First and second places were taken by England's Jo Watmore (60) and Michaela Staniford (50), as their team won the Cup.
Team to start: Forsberg, Steven, Gaffney, Martin, Dixon, Sergeant, Johnston. Subs: Harris, Green and Law
Although this weekend signals the end of the season for the fledgling Scotland Women 7s, members of the squad have also been selected for the GB Women’s squad for the 2012 World University 7s Championships in France (11 to 13 July).
Scotland Women 7s captain, Steph Johnston, is included along with Megan Gaffney (standby) – also originally chosen, Sarah Dixon has had to withdraw due to work commitments. Head coach Scott Forrest travels to the tournament, too, as GB Assistant Coach.
Outwith Europe, South Africa, USA, Australia and New Zealand had qualified already for Women's Rugby World Cup 7s 2013, with Australia the current title holders. The five European places have now gone to England, Spain, France, Netherlands and Ireland; hosts Russia qualify automatically. The 2013 Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens features the top 16 women’s teams and takes place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow from 28 to 30 June.
Scotland Women 7s squad for FIRA-AER Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifying tournament in Moscow
1. Tess Forsberg (Richmond)
2. Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
3. Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
4. Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars)
5. Megan Gaffney (Murrayfield Wanderers)
6. Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers)
7. Sarah Dixon (Stirling County)
8. Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers)
9. Annabel Sergeant (Murrayfield Wanderers)
10. Stephanie Johnston (RHC Cougars)(captain)
11. Lauren Harris (Melrose)
12. Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers)