Eleven-try Scots must await FIRA fate

Scotland produced a thrilling display of no-holds-barred rugby in Madrid this afternoon in their final FIRA WRWC qualifier against Sweden, beating their opponents 63-8, as passion and commitment saw them cross the line 11 times.

Eleven tries from Griffith (3), Gaffney (3), Sergeant (2), Green, Brown and Dalgliesh, wih conversions from Dalgliesh (3) and Law (1)  combined to exceed the 60-point target set by head coach Karen Findlay at the start of the game. With the bonus point won by midway through the first half, Scotland's fate [to WRWC qualification] now rests with the outcome of today's other games (Samoa v Netherlands and Spain v Italy).

With outside centre Lisa Martin pulling up during the warm-up, there was a hasty reshuffle of the backs to allow Katy Green to start at 15, Laura Steven to take her place at 23, Annabel Sergeant moving to 13 and Gillian Inglis to 12.

There was a nervous start to the match with pride to play for from Sweden and everything to play for from Scotland, as scrappy ball and loose passing forced the Scots deep into the opposition 22. The Scots didn't lose shape and continued to pass into the wide channel at every opportunity, allowing Gaffney to turn on the gas up the wing.

It was Gaffney who put the first points on the board, eight minutes in, after considered pick and go from the pack which allowed the pass to the wing and a try in the corner. Taking on the role of kicker at the last minute, in Martin's enforced absence, Sarah Law was only inches short with her conversion attempt, a difficult angle from the touchline.

At the restart, Scotland powered their way forward but were guilty of another turnover ball which saw Sweden build deep into their half and, with a massive push from their pack, cross the line to level the scores.

Great work from centre Gillian Inglis on the pick and go edged the Scots back towards the Sweden line and Sergeant crossed to make it 10-5. An infringement in the 22 shortly after, gave Sweden a penalty attempt which they slotted to make it 10-8.

Minutes later Griffith crossed for Scotland, however after a great run from near the halfway after the restart, Sarah Law nailing the next conversion to make it 17-8 on the half-hour.




Then Brown  added her name to the try scorers with a head-down driving run from the set piece, the bonus point try unconverted to make it 22-8. Gaffney scored again just before half time to increase Scotland's lead to 27-8.

Moments after kick-off the Scots were pressing again with great hands, good numbers, structure and drive, sending Sergeant over the line in the corner. Law's conversion pinged audibly back off the non-woodwork, keeping the score at 32-8, after 20 minutes of the second half.



Full back Katy Green then added her name to the list with a good run from the midfield, the conversion attempt by replacement scrum half Louise Dalgliesh just coming up short.

There was still plenty gas in the engine from the entire XV as they continued to press, pick, go and pass out wide, Gaffney crossing for her hat-trick after legging it from almost halfway.

Great defensive work and an overall have-a-go attitude combined for the next try, after drive from Brown saw Dagliesh cross theline, amidst a pile of her team-mates; she converted her own score to make it 49-8 with five minutes to go.

Two further tries from Griffith in the closing minutes - after steaming runs from the 22 -  the second converted by Dalgliesh, brought the score to 63-8 at full time.

Passion, drive and commitment, bodies on the line and job done. Scotland couldn't have pulled out any more in this game and must now wait for the results of the final two ties to see how the table is finally set for France.

After securing a bonus point win (29-7) in
Saturday's (20 April) opening game against the
 Netherlands, they went down to Italy (27-3) on Tuesday, meaning they are now one of four teams who could secure the two places at stake for next year's Rugby World Cup in France (the others are Italy, Spain and Samoa).

Scotland Women v Sweden Women, kick-off 1.30pm (local, 12.30pm BST), Central University Stadium, Madrid

15 Katy Green (Darlington Mowden Park)
14 Lyndsay O'Donnell (Worcester)

13 Annabel Sergeant (Richmond)
12 Gillian Inglis (Melrose)
11 Megan Gaffney (Hillhead Jordanhill) [r]
10 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars)
9 Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers)

1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead Jordanhill)
2 Lindsey Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill)
3 Tracy Balmer (Worcester)
4  Samantha Beale (Hillhead Jordanhill)
5  Becca Parker (Hillhead Jordanhill)
6  Susie Brown (Richmond) (c)
7  Tess Forsberg (Richmond)
8  Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond)

Substitutes (all used)
16 Suzy McKerlie-Hex (Murrayfield Wanderers)
 17 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers) 18 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers)
19 Bridget Millar-Mills (Worcester)
 20 Jade Konkel (Hillhead Jordanhill)
 21 Nikki McLeod (Morgan) 
22 Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars)
 23 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)

 

Rugby World Cup
Twelve teams will take part in Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 in Paris. There are six automatic qualifiers: reigning world champions New Zealand, 2010 runners up England, 2010 bronze medallists Australia, 2014 hosts France plus USA and Canada by virtue of their top six placing at WRWC 2010.

Ireland and Wales, as the two highest placed teams on aggregate from the 2012 and 2013 6 Nations (outside of automatic qualifiers England and France), have also secured their places. The top two teams will qualify from the Madrid tournament with the two remaining sides coming from yet to be determined Africa and Asia qualifiers.