Scotland Women 7s runner-up in Hong Kong
Scotland Women 7s Head Coach Scott Forrest has praised his team following their second-place finish at the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifiers in Hong Kong this week.
The competition, which would gain promotion to the World Sevens Series for the champions, took place at the So Kon Po Recreation Ground in Hong Kong.
Scotland were placed in pool A alongside Belgium, Japan and Mexico. Belgium finished one place below Scotland in the Rugby Europe Grand Prix last year and Japan have featured on the World Sevens Series as recently as 2018 so it was due to be a tough escape from the pool stages.
The first match was the one to win to ensure they had the best chance of progressing into the knock out stages. Starting strong, Hannah Smith opened up the scoring in the very first minute. Following tries from Annabel Sergeant and another from Smith, Belgium had to fight to stay in the game. They countered with two scores of their own, but Rhona Lloyd sealed the deal for Scotland with two further tries. Captain Helen Nelson converted three of the tries to take the final score to 31-12.
Japan gave Scotland a tougher contest in the second fixture, which was to be expected. Tries from Hannah Smith, Rhona Lloyd and Abi Evans kept Scotland in the match, but Japan took the opportunity created from a yellow card to Scotland to win 27-19.
The final pool match gave Scotland a chance to field all their players as they produced a confident 38-5 win over Mexico.
Going into the knock out stages, Scotland faced Papua New Guinea in the quarter-finals. Taking place in the Hong Kong Stadium, Scotland eased through the match with a 36-12 win against PNG.
The semi-final match gave the Scots the second opportunity to try and beat Japan. A close and exciting match started with Scotland opening up the scoring. Japan reacted to take the lead 7-5 in the first few minutes. However, the Scots used their speed on the wings and through some great set plays quickly regained the lead again and maintain it to win 24-19.
In the final, it was Scotland who opened up the scoring again as they took on Brazil. The South Americans were leading 14-12, however, going into the second half. Rhona Lloyd scored her eighth try of the tournament from the restart to put Scotland in the lead again. Sadly, Brazil had the control in the final few minutes. Scotland couldn’t counter their further two tries and the match finished 28-19 to Brazil.
The high-pressure match produced a few errors from Scotland and they just couldn’t find the edge that was seen in earlier matches.
Head Coach Scott Forrest reacted after the final. He said. “It's obviously tough right now to put into words but the initial feeling is just disappointment for the players.
“They played some excellent rugby over the two days and following our loss to Japan yesterday we improved in each of our games against Mexico, PNG and then Japan in the semi-final.
“Our performance against PNG and Japan showed how good a team we are when we execute our game plan. We looked comfortable with the ball and scored some excellent tries.
“Unfortunately, in the final we made too many individual errors and our decision making let us down at key moments. Credit to Brazil who came out and executed their game well when it mattered.
“Although we are disappointed right now, we have learned a lot from this experience and ultimately it will help us improve as a team moving forward.”