When Scotland’s women lined up against Wales on Friday night in the third round of their Six Nations campaign, history was stacked against them.
The ladies in blue had not won a Six Nations game since 2010, while their opposition were placed four spots above them in the world rankings. Having endured crushing losses in the previous round both sides were hoping to bounce back and regain some form of pride.
It was Scotland that came out on top however, with headline performances from the University of Edinburgh’s Lisa Thomson, Rhona Lloyd, and Sarah Law, scoring all of the team’s points in a 15-14 win.
Despite an early period of dominance, the Scots were unable to turn pressure into points, and it was ultimately the visitors in red that took the advantage. A lineout on the five metre saw Wales begin a driving maul that the Scottish pack were unable to contain. Welsh captain Carys Philips touched down before Elinor Snowsill duly added the extras.
15 minutes later the visitors won a scrum and once again displayed the power they had at their disposal. As the Scottish pack disintegrated, the referee had seen enough and awarded a penalty try. Under the posts, Snowsill doubled her tally to give Wales a 14-0 lead.
But that was not to be the end of a dramatic first half. With the clock in the red, Scotland were on the hunt for a try of their own as they camped out on the Welsh try line. Then came the breaktrough.
Starting her run from deep, centre Lisa Thomson picked a lovely angle and showed her strength to carry the ball over the line and bring the hosts right back into it at half time.
After the break, the Welsh came out firing, but Scotland’s defence was happy to bend but never break. With bodies tiring, Scotland won a scrum on the Welsh five metre line, and after solid work by the forwards, the ball was flicked out to Rhona Lloyd on the wing for a finish in the corner. Despite the missed conversion, Scotland were bouyed by a new sense of belief.
As the clock ticked slowly towards the 80 minuute mark, neither side gave any quarter, but in their attempts to unsettle the Scots, Wales strayed offside, gifting a makeable penalty to Sarah Law with just three minutes to go. The University of Edinburgh captain kept her composure and slotted the ball through the posts to give Scotland a truly historic victory.
A testament to the spirit and commitment of the whole team and coaching staff, Scotland will hope that the wait for the next victory won’t be quite as long.
Image courtesy of Mark Morgan