​SCOTLAND TAKE SPOILS IN SPANISH THRILLER ​

Scotland kept their dreams of World Cup qualification alive with a thrilling win over Spain, overturning a half-time deficit and scoring four tries in the process.

It was a tough start for Scotland as Spain were able to get on the scoreboard within the first two minutes, with winger Paula Requena Zamora crossing the line before Patricia Garcia Rodriguez added the extras [7-0].

Spain continued to assert their dominance during the opening period, but Scotland’s defence was able to hold strong.

The first opportunity for Scotland came after 20 minutes as last weekend’s try-scorer Rhona Lloyd cruised into the corner to score [7-5].

Buoyed by the score, Scotland were able to immediately put pressure on the Spanish defence as Lisa Thomson created the space for Megan Gaffney to exploit, with the winger evading two defenders before scoring. Helen Nelson was successful with the conversion [7-12]

Spain retaliated and were able to take the lead once again as Margarita Rodriguez crashed over the line following a well-taken line-out, with Patricia Garcia Rodriguez adding the extras [14-12].

A see-saw encounter, with both sides intent on playing attractive rugby, saw Spain extend their lead through Maria Garcia Gala’s converted score, before Helen Nelson ensured with sides went in only two points apart, converting her own 37th-minute try to draw to a close an absorbing half (19-17).

HALF-TIME: Spain 19-17 Scotland

Scotland started the second half the stronger of the two sides and, with the Spaniards a player down, managed to take the lead through Nelson’s penalty 10 minutes after the restart (19-20).

Rodriguez’s boot once more saw the lead change hands from the resulting restart (22-20) as both teams sought the space needed for another foray into opposition territory, with the middle of the pitch proving the epicenter for some crunching tackles and ferociously contested breakdowns.

Play halted after 56 minutes while a potential head-on tackle by the Spanish replacement second-row Castelo on Rachel Malcolm was investigated, the eventual result of a yellow card offering Scotland another ten minutes of advantage in numbers.

In the ascendancy, Scotland opted to kick from touch and from the resulting rumbling line-out maul, Rachel McLachlan emerged having scored her side’s fourth try of the afternoon, Nelson’s conversion offering just reward for such a score (22-27).

And, despite Spain knocking incessantly at Scotland’s door for the final few minutes, relentless defence from Bryan Easson’s squad resulted in an historic 27-22 success and with it, hopes of reaching rugby’s biggest stage very much intact.

Scotland’s final match of the World Cup Qualifier is against Ireland this coming Saturday 25 September, kick-off 5pm (BST), with their destiny still very much in their own hands.

FULL-TIME: Spain 22-27 Scotland

Scotland: Chloe Rollie (Harlequins); Rhona Lloyd (Les Lionness Du Stade Bordelais), Hannah Smith (Watsonians), Lisa Thomson (Sale Sharks), Megan Gaffney (Heriot’s); Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning), Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning); Leah Bartlett (Loughborough Lightning), Lana Skeldon (Worcester Warriors), Christine Belisle (Cartha Queens Park), Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning), Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Rachel Malcolm CAPTAIN (Loughborough Lightning), Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks), Jade Konkel (Harlequins).

Replacements: Molly Wright (Watsonians), Lisa Cockburn (Darlington Mowden Park), Katie Dougan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Siobhan Cattigan (Stirling County), Evie Gallagher (Stirling County), Mairi McDonald (Hillhead Jordanhill), Sarah Law (Sale Sharks), Abi Evans (Darlington Mowden Park).

Spain: Lea Ducher; Paula Requena Zamora, Amaia Erbina Arana, Amalia Argudo Llobregat, Maria Garcia Gala; Anne Fernandez De Corres, Patricia Garcia Rodriguez; Saioa Jaurena Acha, Margarita Rodriguez, Laura Delgado Duenas CAPTAIN, Ana Puig Delgado, Carmen Castellucci Ocana, Olivia Fresneda Fernandez, Maria Calvo Balaguer, Lourdes Alameda Garcia-Moreno

Referee: Aurelie Groizeleau (France)

live commentary 5:00 PM Sunday 19 Sep 2021

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