Women in five-try FIRA win

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Scotland Women overcame their opening opposition in the FIRA WRWC 2014 qualifier in Madrid this afternoon with a 29-7 win over their Netherlands counterparts.

Five tries, two converted, also earned the Scots a bonus point, giving them a boost for their next game against 6 Nations opponents, Italy (Tuesday 23 April).

Head coach Karen Findlay said: "I'm really pleased. The objective today was to win and get a bonus point - we scored five fantastic tries, got the win and the bonus point.

"The pleasant thing about the tries was we created phases and the outside backs scored the tries. And our skipper did a tremendous job to secure the fourth try, with the initiative to pick, tap and score herself, from a good 15m out.

"And the front row today worked exceptionally hard and Lindsey Smith, the starting hooker, had the best game I've ever seen her play in a rugby shirt for Scotland."

Scotland opened up the scoring after six minutes following a break off the set piece by Megan Gaffney which saw her slicing through the opposition and heading off on a solo run up the wing to cross in the corner, the score unconverted.

Buoyed by their effectiveness in attack, the Scots kept the action in the Netherlands half for much of the next ten minutes, Tanya Griffith coming close to a second score before spilling the ball near the line.

Debut cap Gillian Inglis showed her form and there was solid defending from the pack, a standout performance from Lindsey Smith as they pushed forward and took every opportunity.

A burst from the opposition midway through the half saw Griffiths knocked for six with Kelly Shields also down, giving Netherlands a chance to break against the run of play and cross the line. The converted score put them 5-7 ahead after 20 minutes.

With Shields subsequently retiring injured, Samantha Beal came on, joining starter Gillian Inglis (right) as the second debut cap of the day for Scotland.

As the action returned to the other end of the field, Smith pushed forward and was instrumental in the offload to Sarah Dixon who set off at pace down the wing to cross for Scotland's second try. The 7-10 scoreline remained until half time, some effective set piece and promising breaks curtailed by spilled ball.

The teams had barely got their bearings on the pitch again after half time before Gaffney broke from almost the halfway line to slice through the opposition and score her second.

Any breaks by the Netherlands were brought to ground rapidly with Tracy Balmer putting in some thumping tackles. Her replacement for the shift, Beth Dickens, duly came on midway through the second half for her fiftieth cap.

With ten minutes left on the clock, Scotland were leading 15-7 with sustained pressure on the Netherlands' line converted into another score as captain Susie Brown's neat pick and go went all the way, ensuring the bonus point, the conversion from Inglis making it 22-7.