At the end of the first day of competition in Bergen, Scotland Women 7s topped their group with three out of three wins, 120 points for and just seven against in the FIRA-AER Division A Championship.
Opening their account with a 36-0 win over Finland, involving six tries, the Scots went on to beat Croatia 36-0, touching down another six times, and ended the day with a 38-7 scoreline to the good over Moldova, featuring four tries by Sarah Dixon.
Head coach Scott Forrest said: “That’s probably the best day I’ve had in a sevens environment with the women in the last three years.
“Everything that we set out to do, we did. It wasn’t perfect but that’s the closest we’ve been. It was really, really pleasing for me, the performance we put in, in the first game, really set the tone and we improved in each game we played.
“There were lot of positive, a lot of very good individual performances but for me, the way the team’s pulled together – there’s something special about this team, something different, the way we gel off the pitch, too.
“For me, as a coach, being able to have a squad of 12 players, not just a team of seven players, has been a big positive.”
"When substitutes are coming on to the pitch, they’re raising the standard and that’s what you want."
The Scots scored first in each of the three games, touching down from the first possession, and allowed their opposition minimal to no possession.
Forrest Said: "Sevens is a very hard game if you can’t hold on to the ball. The first half of the Moldovan game, the first half of the Croatian game we were, effectively playing in half a pitch because we wouldn’t let the opposition out of their half. That’s what you want.
"We were quite specific with small technical things. Like we knew we wanted to kick long, get a good kick-chase and just put their skills under pressure and that’s what we did. We didn’t force things today. We were very accurate in out defence and very switched on and alert to play off the turnovers."
Although little was known of any of today's opponents, Forrest reckons that was to their benefit, allowing Scotland to focus on themselves and concentrate on one game at a time, individually and collectively as a team.
"Losing the try against Moldova – yes, it would have been great to nil every team we played but, as a coach, it’s good to see how the team reacts to losing a score and they reacted really well. We lost a score and they reacted by immediately scoring a try.
"We also looked one of the fittest teams there. Yes, it’s been a very short programme but the girls have worked hard. Everything that we’ve wanted to achieve from the programme so far we’ve done. We threw a lot at them in training and we got the balance right.
"The work that Jon [physio] has done, getting the player physically prepared, has made a huge difference and Spencer, from strength and conditioning, has been involved in all our training camps and the amount of work he’s put in has been brilliant."
Pool match 1 – Scotland v Finland
The Scots started with intent, a great line and break seeing winger Sarah Dixon over for the first points by the posts, the conversion good from scrum half Lisa Martin. Debut cap Rose Anderson then opened her account, with a powerful drive for the line, Martin again adding the extras to make it 14-0 at half time.
After no try for a knock-on shortly after the restart, captain Steph Johnston didn’t miss in the top corner moments later, the conversion attempt just short. After another near score, for flanker Ruth Slave, centre Laura Steven then added her name to the score sheet, with Slaven following suit within two minutes. Just short of the whistle winger Annabel Sergeant completed the six pack, converting her own try to make the final score 36-0.
Team: Rose Anderson (RHC Cougars) (try), Sarah Dixon (Stirling County Women) (try), Tess Forsberg (Richmond), Steph Johnston (Worcester) (try), Gillian Inglis (Melrose), Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers) (2 conv), Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers) (try)
Subs: Claire Bain (RHC Cougars) (for Inglis), Sarah Gill (Murrayfield Wanderers) (for Martin), Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers) (for Anderson), Annabel Sergeant (Richmond) (for Dixon) (try, conv), Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers) (for Forsberg) (try)
Pool match 2 – Scotland v Croatia
Buoyed by their opening win, Scotland blazed out of the blocks. With the skies clearing and temperatures rising, Anderson wasted no time crossing for a brace in the first half, the second try converted by Johnston (HT 12-0). After pressing the line early in the second half, Slaven crossed in the corner, the conversion from scrum half Sarah Law good from in front of the posts. Well into their stride, the stadium commentator’s favourite, Johnstone, scored, swiftly followed by a break to touch down, at pace, from Dixon. This time, Law’s conversion attempt rang back off the inside of the post. A second try from Dixon was duly converted as the clock ticked over to full time to make it 36-0.
Team: Anderson (2 tries), Forsberg, Johnston (try, conv), Slaven (try), Gill, Inglis, Sergeant (conv).
Subs: Dixon (2 tries), Steven, Bain, Law (conv), (Martin unused).
Pool match 3 – Scotland v Moldova
Though there was no hiding place from the blistering sun on the pitch, the only effect the heat had on Scotland’s performance was to intensify the team performance. Dixon was name on the first half scoresheet – four times – with two of the scores converted by Martin to put Scotland 24-0 ahead at half time. Inglis turned up the gas to shoot across the whitewash shortly after the restart, Martin adding the extras. Just taking their eye off the ball slightly allowed Moldova to steal a rare advantage which they capitalised on, making the break to score by the posts, the try converted, to put the first point past Scotland all day. The Scots kept their heads up and focus sharp, however, as Gill saw the gap and raced over, converting her own try just shy of full time, 38-7.
Team: Anderson, Johnston, Inglis (try), Dixon (4 tries), Martin (3 conv), Slaven, Steven
Subs: Bain, Sergeant, Forsberg, Gill (try, conv), Law
Scotland Women 7s squad to compete at FIRA-AER Division A Championship
Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June 2014, Fana Stadium, Bergen, Norway
Rose Anderson (RHC Cougars)
Claire Bain (RHC Cougars)
Sarah Dixon (Stirling County Women)
Tess Forsberg (Richmond)
Sarah Gill (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Steph Johnston (Worcester)
Gillian Inglis (Melrose)
Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Annabel Sergeant (Richmond)
Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Scotland move into the Cup quarter-finals tomorrow (8 June), facing their opening opponents Finland again at 10am local (9am UK), with further matches dependent on results. The day’s action will be streamed live at ba.no.