Report: Scotland 36-5 Spain
Scotland Women triumphed 36-5 against Spain at Hive Stadium in an ideal preparation for the WXV tournament, scoring six tries.
The opening exchanges were nervy for both, with Scotland finding their feet in their first fixture since the TikTok Six Nations. Spain had a narrow advantage in the opening quarter of an hour, and when Scotland were penalised for not rolling away in the ruck, the visitors kicked to the corner. Scotland then conceded another penalty at the maul, which was kicked back into the corner. A third penalty soon followed, and this time from the driving maul captain Cristina Blanco dotted down for the opening try.
A first spell of meaningful possession for Scotland came soon after, as Spain kicked the restart out just outside their 22. The hosts got the maul drive going, but couldn’t make any notable dents in the Spanish defence and the attack was soon ended by a knock on.
Scotland returned to Spain’s 22 in the 27th minute, with Rachel McLachlan winning the jackal penalty and Helen Nelson hoofing the ball into the right corner. Like Scotland, Spain conceded back-to-back maul penalties, and with penalty advantage Nelson kicked out to the left. It was caught by Chloe Rollie, and a phase later Emma Orr found Sarah Bonar on the left wing, who forced her way over the last defender and into the corner for her third try for Scotland.
Within a minute of the restart Spain rampaged up the pitch, and were just two metres from the line, but excellent defence from Scotland forced a knock on.
Scotland then brilliantly went coast to coast from the scrum, as Meryl Smith decided to run from her own line, finding Emma Orr just as she was brought down. Orr then found Rhona Lloyd on the right wing, who was too fast for the recovering defence and darted over.
After early malfunctions the lineout, lead by Bonar, was a huge source of territory and penalties for Scotland. With the last play of the half, a penalty kicked into Spain’s half lead to another penalty at maul time, which went right into the left corner. This time the maul was halted legally, but two phases later Smith capitalised on disorganisation from a loose ball, sprinting between two defenders on the left side and over to make it a two-score game at the interval.
Half time: Scotland 15-5 Spain
Scotland continued where they left off after the break, and in just three minutes they were back within metres of the line. The initial break came on the right wing from Lloyd, and with penalty advantage the attack probed for space. None was found, and play was brought back for the penalty which was kicked into the corner, but the lineout misfired and Spain kicked clear.
Spain were barely out of their half for the ten minutes after half time, and Scotland got a deserved fourth try in the 50th minute. It was Francesca McGhie who finished in style when it looked like nothing was on, receiving the ball on the left wing and evading two defenders to score.
Scotland’s pack won a penalty at the scrum in the 56th minute, which was duly kicked into Spain’s 22 by Nelson. From the lineout Scotland headed to the backs, and Emma Orr split the defence in midfield and dived over between the posts, scoring a well-earned first try for Scotland.
The scrum platform brought Scotland back into the 22 in the 68th minute, and the forwards brought Scotland forward with repeated carries. Evie Gallagher made the most metres, wrestling tacklers off as she went. Spain were penalised, the ball went to the corner, and the driving maul brought Elis Martin over the line, a first Scotland try on just her second cap.
The attack from Scotland was clinical, but the defence was relentless, and often got them up the field in the final minutes. A dropped ball from Spain lead to a kick that went out on the full, and from the resulting lineout just outside the 22, Scotland worked infield and won a penalty for offside. It was kicked into the right corner, and though Spain defended the maul, they soon conceded another penalty and Gorrochategui was sin binned. This time, Scotland chose the scrum five metres out, but Spain held up Rachel Malcolm and turned the ball over. They kicked to touch, and Scotland’s third win on the bounce was confirmed.
Full time: Scotland 36-5 Spain
Player of the match: Emma Orr (Scotland)
Scotland: 15. Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning) 14. Rhona Lloyd (GB 7s / Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais) 13. Emma Orr (Heriot’s/Biggar) 12. Meryl Smith (Bristol Bears) 11. Francesca McGhie (Watsonians) 10. Helen Nelson VICE-CAPTAIN (Loughborough Lightning) 9. Mairi McDonald (Exeter Chiefs) 1. Leah Bartlett (Leicester Tigers) 2. Lana Skeldon (Worcester Warriors) 3. Christine Belisle (Loughborough Lightning) 4. Louise McMillan (Saracens) 5. Sarah Bonar (Harlequins) 6. Rachel Malcolm CAPTAIN (Loughborough Lightning) 7. Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks) 8. Evie Gallagher (Worcester Warriors)
Replacements: 16. Elis Martin (Leicester Tigers) for Skeldon (63 mins) 17. Anne Young (Sale Sharks) for Belisle (63 mins) 18. Lisa Cockburn (Worcester Warriors) for Bartlett (63 mins) 19. Eva Donaldson (Leicester Tigers) for Bonar (71 mins) 20. Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning) for McLachlan (50 mins) 21. Caity Mattinson (Worcester Warriors) for McDonald (50 mins) 22. Lisa Thomson (GB 7s) for Smith (50 mins) 23. Liz Musgrove – (Ealing Trailfinders) for McGhie (63 mins)
Spain: 15. Amalia Argudo 14. Claudia Perez 13. Alba Vinuesa 12. Iciar Pozo 11. Clara Piquero 10. Ines Buesu Inchausti 9. Bingoing Vergara 1. Maria del Castillo 2. Cristina Blanco CAPTAIN 3. Sidorello Bracic 4. Anna Puig 5. Carmen Castellucci 6. Olivia Fresneda 7. Alba Capell 8. Maria Calvo
Replacements: 16. Marietta Roman for Blanco (63 mins) 17. Ines Antolinez for Bracic (46 mins) 18. Laura Delgado for del Castillo (46 mins) 19. Leyre Bianchi for Puig (71 mins) 20. Vico Gorrochategui for Capell (67 mins) 21. Maider Aresti for Vergara (71 mins) 22. Zahia Perez for Buesu Inchausti (63 mins) 23. Jimena Blanco Hortiguera for Piquero (54 mins)