Scotland Women lift Bowl in Russia

"We're going to enjoy this, to enjoy the feeling of winning - we won three out of five of our games this weekend - and just to finish 9th is huge going forward to next week's seedings because it means we won't be bottom in the pool again. We'll get either Portugal, Ukraine or Germany in our group next weekend - that's going to be big for us because we need to back up this performance to ensure we stay in this division."

Scotland Women 7s head coach Scott Forrest shared his delight as the squad picked up the Bowl today [Sunday 14 June] at the Rugby Europe Grand Prix 7s in Russia. They beat Portugal 22-17 in extra time, and moved four places up the rankings for next weekend's second and deciding leg in Brive, France.

Scotland Women 7s win the bowl

After beating Portugal in the pool stages - following defeat in the opening game to hosts and eventual Cup winners Russia, and being edged by Italy - the Scots began the day with a Bowl semi-final against Ukraine. In four years as a squad Scotland had never beaten the Eastern Europeans but it was to be fourth time successful today.

Forrest said: "We achieved our goal which was the big thing. We missed out on the top eight by four points in the end - one try, either scoring one more or conceding one less.

"The big thing for us after the disappointment of not making the top eight yesterday was that, today, we channelled that and had no fear going into play Ukraine or Portugal. The way we went out today and beat Ukraine is the best, I think, we've ever played as a team. Four good tries, four different try scorers.

"Then our chat before the Portugal game was that if we executed our roles, stuck to our game plan, we would beat them and we would be in control. I think we showed that when we scored right at the end."

Playing in oppressive heat for two days, having started as bottom (12th) seeds in this top flight of European competition, has underlined the determination and resolve of the squad.

Forrest said: "The girls put in a big shift this weekend and everyone played. Some played more than others - I think Megan and Steph played every minute - but everyone played their part."

With the more experienced heads - including Laura Steven and Tess Forsberg, who had played in the last three seasons of the squad's existence - out injured, it opened the door for others such as Scotland Women's XV back row, Jade Konkel, to make a mark in the abbreviated game.

Forrest said:

"Jade has made a big impact. The try she scored this morning against Ukraine was outstanding - a great team try when you look at the build-up, but that showed the strength of her game - really powerful in contact and hand-off, and she finished really well. It's great that we have a player who can go on and make an impact like that because it gives all the players around her a lift."

Bowl Semi-final

An assured performance saw two tries - from captain Steph Johnston and fullback Eilidh Sinclair, both converted by scrum half Sarah Law - put the Scots 14-0 ahead at half time. Two minutes into the second half, the Ukrainians pulled back with a converted score.

Turning on the gas again, however, back row Jade Konkel made a blistering run to score between the posts, the conversion slotted by stand-off Lisa Martin. With under a minute to go, winger Megan Gaffney ensured the win with try number four to make the score 26-7 and secure a final against Portugal.

Bowl Final

The Portuguese were first on the scoreboard, kicking off and retaining possession to dot down. A move begun in Scotland's own half by Johnston then saw her power upfield to score between the posts, the conversion added by Law. Just before half time scrum half Jenny Maxwell picked the ball from a scrum on Portugal's 22, saw the gap and touched down, the conversion just short, to edge Scotland 12-7 ahead. On half time, however, Portugal matched the move with a similar score and it was 12-all going into the break.

With the heat a major opponent for both teams, it was winger Sarah Dixon who found the extra pace to start a run finished off by Gaffney adding another five points (17-12) with a minute to go. After crossing but the ball adjudged held up it looked like Scotland's win but despite some powerful tackling, Portugal crossed on the whistle, no conversion to make it 17-all on the whistle.

It was then 'golden try' time and, giving a true captain's performance, Johnston scooped up an early pass out wide and found the pace to outrun the three ensuing Portuguese, dot down and secure the Bowl.

Rugby Europe Grand Prix Leg 1 – Kazan (starting 7 - days 1 & 2)

1      Jade Konkel                                 Hillhead Jordanhill             (Ru)             
2      Karen Dunbar                               RHC Cougars                    (Ru) (Po) (It) (Uk) (Po)
3      Eilidh Sinclair                               Murrayfield Wanderers               (Po)       (Uk) (Po)
4      Lisa Ritchie                                   Carlisle                                              (It)
5      Megan Gaffney                             Hillhead Jordanhill            (Ru) (Po) (It) (Uk) (Po)
6      Lisa Martin                                    Murrayfield Wanderers
7      Sarah Dixon                                  Stirling County                  (Ru) (Po) (It) (Uk) (Po)
8      Jenny Maxwell                              Leeds Met/Lichfield          (Ru) (Po) (It) (Uk) (Po)
9      Sarah Law                                    Murrayfield Wanderers     (Ru) (Po) (It) (Uk) (Po)
10    Steph Johnston                            Worcester                         (Ru) (Po) (It) (Uk) (Po)
11    Fionidi Parker                               Northumbria University
12    Caitlin Harvey                               Caithness/RHC Cougars


Rugby Europe Women's 7s Grand Prix Series 1, 13-14 June, Kazan (Russia)
Pool A: Russia 37-0 Scotland; Portugal 12-14 Scotland; Italy 17-7 Scotland
Bowl Semi-final: Scotland 26-7 Ukraine
Bowl Final: Scotland 22-17 Portugal
Rugby Europe Women's 7s Grand Prix Series 2, 20-21 June, Brive (France)