​Scotland Women 36 Japan Women 12

Scotland Women recorded their third successive victory of the season with a six tries to two win against Japan at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh this afternoon.

Roared on by an enthusiastic crowd of 2,346, the Scots atoned for their narrow defeat the last time the sides had met at Scotstoun two years ago and followed up their successes earlier in the Autumn against Spain and Ireland.

Scotland’s tries came from Rhona Lloyd (2), Lana Skeldon, Megan Gaffney, Chloe Rollie and Lisa Thomson with three conversions from Helen Nelson.

There was a tactical maturity to the manner in which Bryan Easson’s side played, making use of kicks for territory, especially in the second-half.

The win sets up Scotland nicely for their Rugby World Cup final qualifying tournament in Dubai in February, as they strive to reach the glittering showpiece of the global game in New Zealand next year, while for Japan, they battled bravely after an early red card and improved on their 5-23 loss to Wales earlier this month.

Scotland opened the scoring in the 12th minute.Forwards made the first dent through Sarah Bonar and from quick recycling Helen Nelson’s pass was key as Lisa Thomson and Hannah Smith supported to send in Rhona Lloyd for the try. Nelson missed the conversion (5-0).

The visitors lost their lock Yuna Sato who was sent off in the 19th minute for a direct contact to Lloyd’s head, the decision arrived at after extensive consultation with the TMO.

Scotland were quick to benefit from their numerical advantage. A scrum penalty enabled Thomson to find touch five metres out. From the lineout Emma Wassell was the target, the forwards surged, and hooker Lana Skeldon got the touchdown. (10-0, 23 mins).

There was a staccato nature to the next ten minutes and an unnecessary penalty conceded by Megan Gaffney gave Japan their first sustained foothold in the Scotland 22.

Flanker Irocha Nagata was held up, but the referee was playing an advantage. Japan attacked anew and hooker Nijiho Nagata powered over. The conversion was unsuccessful from Ai Hirayama.

Japan continued to threaten, and flanker Seina Saito looked set to canter in for an equalising try only for sterling defence from Lloyd and Rachel McLachlan to deny the visitors a grounding.

But in first-half injury time, Sachiko Kato plundered a try from a goal-line ruck off a quickly taken tap penalty and the conversion from Hirayama gave Japan the lead (10-12).

Half-time: Scotland Women 10 Japan Women 12.

Scotland made a sprightly restart with Rollie involved ball in hand and then Lloyd being released for a scamper up the right by Jade Konkel.

A patient build-up continued and after useful carries from Konkel and Wassell, Skeldon and Rollie handled for Gaffney to gather and cross for Scotland’s third try and to regain a lead that they would not relinquish.Nelson converted (17-12, 43 mins).

Scotland’s next try was a mighty fine team score. Skeldon made initial inroads from deep in Scotland’s territory. Nelson’s boot upfield was pursued at pace by Lloyd, Scotland won possession, Konkel thundered on and then ball was transferred sweetly via Nelson, Thomson and Smith for Rollie to cut through at a decent lick.Nelson converted (24-12, 46 mins).

Japan then defended tenaciously for the next ten minutes but Scotland regrouped and after a flurry of substitutes – including Shona Campbell who was winning her first cap – the fifth try arrived just inside the final quarter as Nelson triggered Thomson who blazed in on a choice line.Nelson converted (31-12, 62 mins).

Debutant Campbell impressed with slick footwork in attack and terrific composure in defence to set Rollie away on counter-attack, Scotland retained ball, Wassell bruised on in midfield and Sarah Law’s kick was food and drink for Lloyd who hacked on to touch down for a glorious try, a fitting score to bring down the curtain on the afternoon’s entertainment. (36-12, 73 mins).

Full-time: Scotland Women 36 Japan Women 12.

Scotland Women: Chloe Rollie ; Rhona Lloyd, Hannah Smith, Lisa Thomson, Megan Gaffney; Helen Nelson, Jenny Maxwell; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Sarah Bonnar, Rachel Malcolm CAPTAIN, Rachel McLachlan, Jade Konkel.

Subs: Molly Wright for Skeldon (63 mins), Anne Young for Belisle (72 mins), Lisa Cockburn for Bartlett (35-40 mins and from 50 mins), Louise McMillan for Bonnar (58 Mins, Evie Gallagher for McLachlan (58 mins), Sarah Law for Nelson (63 mins), Evie Wills for Smith (58 mins), Shona Campbell for Gaffney (61 mins)

Japan Women: Ai Hirayama; Noriko Taniguchi, Mana Furuta, Kanako Kobayashi, Hinano Nagura; Ayasa Otsuka, Megumi Abe; Saki Minami CAPTAIN, Nijiho Nagata, Sachiko Kato, Kie Tamai, Yuna Sato, Seina Saito, Iroha Nagata, Seina Saito.

Subs: Wako Kitanoi, for Saito (44 mins) Ayumu Kokaji for Nagata (58 mins), Hinata Komaki for Kato (45 mins), Ayano Sakurai for Tamai (50 mins) Misaki Suzuki for Nagata (50 mins), Moe Tsukui for Abe (58 mins), Minori Yamamoto for Sakurai (55 mins) Yuki Ito for Taniguchi (53 mins)

Referee: Nikki O’Donnell (England) Assistant referees: Sara Cox (England) and Francesca Martin (Wales) TMO: Claire Hodnett (England)

Attendance: 2,346

Player of the Match: Rhona Lloyd (Scotland)

live commentary 4:10 PM Sunday 14 Nov 2021

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