Scotland Women 7s Grand Prix Series - Report and Reaction
Scotland Women 7s finished in 5th place in the second leg of the Rugby Europe Grand Prix Series in Kharkiv yesterday.
This result means that they have secured a 5th place finish for the whole Series, and as the 2nd highest ranking non-World Series core nation they have secured their place in the 2020 World Series Qualifiers.
Captain Helen Nelson said, “It was a tough start to the weekend losing to Poland. We built on our performances from there and fought hard for a 5th place finish.
“Overall, it has been a really positive season and we have secured a spot in the World Series Qualifiers which was our main goal. I am really proud of the girls and the improvements we have made this year.”
Scotland faced a tough Pool Group where they were joined by Poland, France and hosts Ukraine. Their opening match was against Poland and this tight encounter resulted in Poland winning 17-12. A comfortable win against Ukraine followed with seven unanswered trys. The final pool match was against France where the World Series core nation won 22-14.
On Day 2, Scotland played a strong Russian team in the Cup Quarter-finals. Russia, the eventual Grand Prix Series Champions won 22-7. Scotland then played Italy in the 5th-8th ranking semi-finals. A close match saw Italy take the lead with a minute left on the clock and Scotland down to six players. A final play score from Rachel McLachlan, her first for the national squad, gave Scotland the win.
Head Coach Scott Forrest said, “We achieved our goal of getting back to the World Series Qualifiers for next year so well done to all players involved in the last two tournaments.
“It was frustrating losing to Poland in the first match, we knew that it might have been the decider match for the spot for the World Series leg in France next year, which it was. Fair play to Poland, they won that game by executing their game plan.
“Day 1 as a whole, we didn’t play at our strongest, but Day 2 was a much better performance. The team played very well against Russia, especially in the first half when we were a try each at half time. The reality of playing against a quality team and the eventual Champions of the Grand Prix Series showed in the second half.
“The big thing from the Italy game was the belief that we showed. We were a score down and down to 6 players, but the belief that the players showed and the real intent was great to see. Rachel McLachlan’s excellent individual finish at the end of patient build up from the team.
“We have come a long way this season. Looking back to where we were a year ago, the programme has moved on massively and that is down to the commitment of the players. This has been my sixth season coaching the sevens and this has definitely been the most enjoyable. A big part of that is due to the group of players and the staff that I have had the pleasure of working with this year. Everyone has looked to improve themselves and I have improved as a coach as a result of their willingness to learn, develop and challenge themselves.”