U18 Women’s Six Nations Festival 2024 | Day 2 Review

U18 Women’s Six Nations Festival 2024 | Day 2 Review

Catch-up on the action from Day 2 of the 2024 U18 Women's Six Nations Festival.

Reflecting on their performances, Head Coach, Duncan Harrison said: “I’m incredibly proud of the effort and significant improvements on both sides of the ball and with our set piece in comparison to day one of the festival. We remained in both those games until the last phase of play.

“The England game saw some unforced errors and game management errors which saw the game slip away from us and our game against Italy was hugely physical. Everyone made an impact but in particular Talei Tawake carried well, I thought Lisa Brown and Holly Wilson defended really well too.

“The squad are so eager to learn and to work hard. This is a tight group and we’ll no doubt see improvements as we move on.”

Scotland v England: KO 4.30pm

Despite a gutsy performance, Scotland’s first game of Round 2 ended in a loss against England.

Scotland had a promising start with Isla Pomroy doing well to disrupt England at the breakdown for a fantastic turnover in the opening minute of the game. Scotland began their first phases of attack with great offloading phases of play. After a few minutes camped in the opposition 22, Scotland suffered a knock-on which led to the first scrum of the match and an attacking platform for England.

England’s speed from the back scrum took them into the red zone, but Scotland continued to defend well before England took play down the left wing. Georgie Baxter flew up from the line to make a great cover tackle, but the offload was good and England scored their first try.

At the restart England did well to test Scotland’s defence, but the work of centre Josie Foubister saw England taken into touch. With the lineout spilling, England capitalised and regardless of best efforts from Holly Wilson to stop the try with her fantastic low tackle technique, England added another five points to the board.

A back-and-forth 10 minutes followed with neither team able to get a foothold on the game.

But in the 20th minute, Scotland made a crucial turnover some eight meters from their try line to take control of the game. Scotland’s Poppy Mellanby showed her footwork flare, cutting lines through the England defence, taking play from within the Scottish half before being taken down short of the 22.

After winning the line out, England were then penalised for holding on. Quick thinking from Scarlet Downs to tap and go took Scotland to within just meters of the try line. Scrum-half Hollie Howland did well to control the tempo of the game before finding Louise Taperell, who crashed over the whitewash for Scotland’s first try. Emily Love’s conversion attempt had great power but was just wide of the posts.

After the restart, Scotland had a strong four minutes of attack, trundling their way into England’s half before an attempt to intercept from England was knocked on and the packs settled in for another scrum. Whilst the scrum was solid and the attack began to take shape, England earned a turnover inside Scotland’s half and began their next phase of attack. Notwithstanding rapid scramble defence from Scotland, a gap appeared in the middle for England to score their third try.

England’s work at the restart to get into Scottish territory was good. Whilst the tackles were low and strong, England’s offloading work was quick and soon they were on the brink of the try line. Scotland’s Lisa Brown made a fantastic try saving tackle, but the team were shortly penalised for being offside. England took a quick tap and trundled across the line for another try, which was then converted.

England snuck in one final try with a driving maul, which saw play breakaway to dot down. Their conversion sailed through, and the final whistle was blown.

Full-time: Scotland 5 – 29 England

Scotland U18: Louise Taperell; Isla Pomroy; Megan Riach; Holly Wilson; Daisy Morrison; Talei Tawake; Gemma Thomson ; Scarlet Downs; Hollie Howland; Poppy Mellenby; Georgie Baxter; Faye Sutherland; Josie Foubister; Emily Norval; Emily Love

Replacements: Ella Ray; Ellie Moffet; Ella Williamson; Aisla Merryweather; Imogen Spence; Emily Coubrough; Sophie Price; Tamzin Rosie; Niamh MacGregor; Lisa Brown ; Rianna Darroch; Mia Ryrie; Hannah Smyth

Italy v Scotland: KO 5.30pm

In tightly fought and close contest, Italy came away with a 12-5 victory over an ever-determined Scotland.

It was a scrappy start for both sides with penalties falling on both parties, however Rianna Darroch’s fantastic kicking technique, helping Scotland find touch on several occasions, Holly Wilson’s quick reactions at the line out and Lisa Brown’s tackle technique were stand-out displays of work.

Despite the flourishes of promise for Scotland, Italy were first to score, getting a foothold after a scrum inside Scotland’s half, taking play within metres of the try line. With Scotland deemed offside, Italy manged to take a quick tap and go, with their number eight sneaking over the top of the breakdown for their first try.

Another 10 minutes of scrappy play followed but eventually Italy found themselves in an advantageous position with a scrum some 10 metres out from Scotland’s try line. Quick work from the base saw Italy rumble over for another try.

Scotland were determined to show their attacking abilities with scrum-half Tamzin Rosie and Darroch pulling the strings. Italy were penalised three times within a matter of minutes inside their 22 and were perhaps lucky to not face a card.

Capitalising on their position inside Italy’s 22, Scotland began to string together some fantastic phases of play with the forwards and backs working in a pendulum to drift from one side to the other, before Rosie found full-back Hannah Smyth, who sailed across the whitewash for Scotland’s first try. Whilst the strike was strong, Niamh MacGregor’s conversion attempt sailed away to the right.

In the final few minutes, it looked as if Italy might be on to bag a third try, but of course Scotland had something to say about that. Epic work from Rosie saw Italy’s full-back knock on the ball just as she approached the try line, ending any hope for five or more points.

Full-time: Italy 12 – 5 Scotland

Scotland U18: Ellie Moffet; Ella Ray; Ella Williams; Gemma Thomson; Aisla Merryweather; Imogen Spence; Sophie Price ; Emily Coubrough; Tamzin Rosie; Rianna Darroch; Niamh MacGregor ; Mia Ryrie; Lisa Brown ; Emily Norval ; Hannah Smyth

Replacements: Isla Pomroy; Talie Tawake; Megan Riach; Louise Taperell; Daisy Morrison; Poppy Mellenby; Holly Wilson ; Scarlet Downs; Georgie Baxter; Hollie Howland; Faye Sutherland; Josie Foubister; Emily Love

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