Wales Women V Scotland Women
Scotland Women showed passion and determination in an entertaining clash against their Welsh counterparts at The Gnoll in Neath.
The visitors had an explosive first-half, featuring an outstanding try finished off by Megan Gaffney and confident kicking by hooker Lana Skeldon.
But the Welsh held on to the lead into the second half and continued to find gaps in the Scots defence to seal a 23-10 win – their first in this year’s Six Nations following an opening loss to last year’s champions, Ireland.
Travelling Scottish support boosted the vocal 2,000-strong crowd, who were treated to thrilling running rugby with both teams spreading the ball wide at every opportunity.
Run of play
It didn’t take long for Scotland to get their supporters hearts racing when prop Tracy Balmer intercepted the ball right on half way and stormed 30 metres into the Welsh 22.
The Scots kept possession and were eventually rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts, which Skeldon slotted with ease to put the first points on the board (0-3).
Wales answered back a few minutes later when number 8 Sioned Harries scored from a driving maul off their line-out, with Robyn Wilkins adding the extras (7-3).
Just before the 15-minute mark, Skeldon lined up for another penalty only for it to rebound off the posts. The Welsh collected and capitalised on numbers out wide and a Scotland off-side gave them another shot to nudge ahead with a successful penalty kick (10-3).
Scotland continued to show patience through the phases and great driving play by the forwards. Flanker Karen Dunbar turned the ball over at the breakdown and sent it sailing through hands to number 8 Jade Konkel, who broke the line at the 22 and off-loaded to winger Megan Gaffney to dive past two defenders.
With 10 minutes until half-time and the breeze in her favour, Skeldon nailed a difficult conversion to even the score, but this didn’t last for long with Hannah Jones crossing the line for the women in red (15-10).
Half-time: Wales 15-10 Scotland
The second half started with Wales dominating possession and territory, but Scotland did everything in their power to hold them at bay and it worked for some time.
The hosts slotted a penalty ahead of a try by Alisha Butchers at 57minutes, but the conversion was missed leaving the score at 23-10.
Both sides brought fresh legs on in the last quarter but energy was spent and the final whistle blew with no more points for either side.
Despite the loss, Scotland captain Lisa Martin remained positive about the team’s performance.
“We did well out there. We tried to push it and we tried to play with some endeavour, which was encouraging in getting that belief back."
People stepped up today. We’ve got people leading from the front and we need to keep up with them and keep the momentum building heading into Italy.”