Match Report: Scotland Women U20 10 – 69 France U20

Match Report: Scotland Women U20 10 – 69 France U20

Scotland Women U20 suffered a 10-69 defeat against a physical French side on matchday two of the Six Nations Women’s Summer Series.

It was a busy set of open exchanges, with Scotland showcasing their ability to apply the pressure where it was needed and display some of their own attacking threat.

Just as play seemed to settle, Scotland were forced into some early changes to the forward pack with injuries sustained by prop Chloe Brown and second row Ellie Willamson, with Poppy Fletcher and Holland Bogan replacing them.

Whilst play restarted with a French scrum, Scotland worked well to force errors and shut down Les Blues attack inside their 22 and with it, regain possession.

After some back-and-fourth phases, France were eventually penalised for an infringement at the ruck and full-back Izzy McGuire-Evans sunk the ball deep into French half to set up a strong attacking platform at the line out for Scotland.

At the lineout, Bogan’s fingertips scuffed the ball but quick reaction from Poolman allowed her to regather and break the gainline ahead of offloading to Rhea Clarke who made a spectacular run through a scattered French defence, before reaching winger Sky Phimister who was pulled into touch some meters from the tryline.

Scotland had penalty advantage, and Clarke quickly exploited a slow French side to tap-and-go.  Strong carrying from Fletcher and Megan Hyland enabled Scotland to reach within mere grass-blades of the whitewash, Bogan helped drive Gemma Bell under the sticks for Scotland’s first try. A straightforward conversion, Lucy MacRae added the extras [7-0, 10 mins].

Despite their best efforts, the impressive physicality and energy of Scotland’s defence continued to keep France pinned in their 22, with Eilidh Fleming and Bogan standouts in their work around the ruck.

France however got their first points on the board in the first quarter, after exploiting the edge of the field following a physical maul from a French line out, with Suliana Sivi dotting down. Les Blues were unable to level the score with the conversion and Scotland maintained a two-point lead [7-5, 20 mins].

A second try was added to the French tally some four minutes later by Hawa Tounkara, which was followed by her conversion, giving France the lead for the first time [7-12, 24 mins].

France made a quick impact at the restart and within minutes Kelly Arbey broke the line, coming meters from the try line, but excellent defensive work from Sky Phimister and Walker saw her torn down and unable to cross the whitewash.

Unfortunately, a third try followed in minute 32 for French winger, Lea Trollier, with the backline finding space along the left flank. Tounkara added the extras again [7-19, 34 mins].

France continued to apply pressure inside Scotland’s half, forcing the girls in blue working hard to combat their threat, including Natasha Logan and Clarke holding Kiara Zago up as she tried to cross the try line. Just moments later however, Frances’ Amalia Bazola dotted down for a fourth score [7-26, 37 mins].

As the clock wound down to half-time, Scotland ended on a brighter note, winning the loose ball and setting up a string of impressive attacking phases, breaching the French 22. Earning a penalty within range of Lucy MacRae’s boot, and so, the Scots took the chance for three but the ball landed right of the sticks. Gathering the ball, France attempted to exit but the ball was instead gathered by Sky Phimister.

The French went on to infringe at the lineout and McGuire-Evans set Scotland up for a line-out on the edge of the 22. Although the lineout had previously functioned without fault, France were able to steal with Scottish ball and with that, send the ball into touch for the half-time whistle.

Half time: Scotland Women U20 7 – 26 France U20

Scotland were quick off the mark in the second half, recording the first points. As Scotland applied the pressure to the French attack, Logan’s speed and precision at the ruck, forced France to hold on, won the girls in blue. MacRae lined up to take a shot at the posts and added three more points to the Scots tally [10-26, 41 mins].

France were keen to respond with some points of their own, adding a fifth try through Anna De Almeida as Scotland were pinned on their try line, desperately defending. Tounkara converted to extend France’s lead [10-33, 45 mins].

Scotland struggled to get a foothold in the scrum, and France were able to capitalise on this with a scrum inside the 22. Some powerful carries from Les Blues saw them cross the try line again, with Patrice-Grace Libali dotting down. Mae Levy added the extras [10-40, 49 mins].

Eilidh Fleming was forced off the field through injury as Scotland approached the final 30 minutes, despite Aila Ronald being capable of the job, the Scots were forced to see the rest of the game out a player-down.

France were soon able to exploit the difference and add a seventh try through Eneka Labeyrie. The conversion was missed [10-45, 59 mins].

As Scotland looked to mix things up in open play with a kick down field, France gathered and began to make their way down the left flank. Sky Phimister defended well against Eneka Labeyrie who came within meters of the line, hauling her to the floor. But quick work at the breakdown saw another try was added for France through Zoe Jean. France were unable to convert [10-50, 63 mins].

Unfortunate spill of the ball allowed France to kick the ball down the field for a foot race, where Levy was able to get a hand on the ball for a try. The conversion was missed [10-55, 66 mins].

In minute 71 of the match, France had an uncontested scrum some five meters out of the line, and with Scotland a player down, were able to exploit the gap on the left wing to score again. The conversion was successful. [10-64, 72 mins].

With huge credit in hot and tiring conditions, Scotland were able to end the majority final exchanges with promising attacking play,

The final moments of the game came from a French try. Levy missed the conversion and the full-time whistle blew.

Full time: Scotland Women U20 10 – 69 France U20

Scotland Women U2O: Izzy McGuire-Evans (Sale Sharks/Glasgow Warriors), Sky Phimister (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Lucia Scott (Hartpury University/Gloucester Hartpury), Lucy MacRae (University of Edinburgh/Glasgow Warriors) Hannah Walker (co-captain, University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby); Hannah Ramsay (Unattached/Edinburgh Rugby), Rhea Clarke (University of Edinburgh/Glasgow Warriors); Chloe Brown (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Karis Craig (Watsonian FC/Glasgow Warriors), Molly Poolman (Watsonian FC/Edinburgh Rugby), Ellie Williamson (West of Scotland/Glasgow Warriors), Natasha Logan (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby), Gemma Bell (Hartpury University/Gloucester Hartpury/Edinburgh Rugby), Samaanther Taganekurukuru (Stirling County/Edinburgh Rugby), Megan Hyland (Garioch/Glasgow Warriors)

Replacements: Aila Ronald (on for Karis Craig, 60 mins) (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby), Poppy Fletcher (for Chloe Brown, 4 mins) (co-captain, University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby), Eilidh Fleming (for Molly Poolman, 11 mins) (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Holland Bogan (on for Ellie Willamson, 4 mins) (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Lauryn Walter (for Gemma Bell, 45 mins) (Brunel University/Ealing Trailfinders), Rebekah Douglas (on for Hannah Walker, 74 mins) (Corstorphine Cougars/Glasgow Warriors), Ceitidh Ainsworth (on for Hannah Ramsay, 60 mins) (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors), Ami Conchie (on for Sky Phimister, 64 mins) (Watsonian FC/Edinburgh Rugby).

Referee: Amber Stamp-Dunstan (WRU)
Player of the Match:
Mae Levy (France)

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