Source: Alessandro Sabattini - World Rugby via Getty Images

Four down, one to go! Scotland v Spain

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The Hive, Murrayfield

The northernmost of the five international matches taking place on the same day saw the Scots assert their superior ranking and greater experience in a clear-cut win.

Spain have plenty of talent, but showed the occasional lack of an instinctive response to game- situations. So when Helen Nelson popped a chip deep into Spanish defence, the ball wasn’t cleared at the first opportunity.

From there things improved rapidly. The Scots infringed three times close to their line and paid the penalty as captain Cristina Blanco was in possession driving over the line.

Spain stayed ahead for half-an hour, but then the whistle started blowing insistently against them, and Sarah Bonor celebrated her return to international rugby with a stroll in on the left wing. (5-5)
Las Leonas were pressing hard again on the Scottish line, when the game turned turtle. Scotland moved the ball blind off the back of a scrum, and two well timed passes saw Rhona Lloyd left with about 75 metres of fresh air in front of her. No-one could haul her in. (10-5).

Meryl Smith ensured her team finished the half well on top with a sinuous run past waving arms, all the way to the line.

Half-time 15-5

On the restart a high tackle on Francesca McGhie brought the offer of a penalty, but Scotland built a sustained attack, winning two more penalty advantages. Holly Wood finally stopped the game with the blue shirts standing in front of the posts. Rachel Malcom called for a kick to the corner, but – can you believe it? – the line-out was lost.

Conditions were very similar to Wales’ game in Colwyn Bay, heavy rain making ball-control difficult.
But another lovely blind-side move saw McGie receive an over-the-top pass from Emma Orr to break free on the left and chalk up Scotland’s fourth. Nelson converted well. (22-5)

On the three-quarter mark Scotland won yet another scrum penalty advantage, but Orr doubled back inside to dot down under the sticks.

Amalia Argudo was a stand-out for the Spaniards with her fine running and sound right boot. But the team showed its relative inexperience in the vast number of penalties conceded.
Elis Martin added to their woes by driving over the line from an attacking line-out; Spain had run out of breath.

It’s a delight watching Scotland playing winning rugby again. Above all, they have outside backs who can act as magnets for attacking ball. In Orr, Smith and McGhie they have three young stars in the making.

Result: Scotland 36 Spain 5 Player of the match: Emma Orr



15 Rollie, 14 Lloyd, 13 Orr, 12 Smith, 11 McGhie, 10 Nelson, 9 McDonald; 1 Bartlett, 2 Skeldon, 3 Belisle, 4 McMillan, 5 Bonar, 6 Malcolm (captain), 7 McLachlan, 8 Gallagher.

Bench: 16 Martin, 17 Young, 18 Cockburn, 19 Wassell, 20 Donaldson, 21 Mattison, 22 Thomson, 23 Musgrove


15 Argudo 14 C. Perez 13 Vinuesa 12 Pozo 11 Piquero 10 Bueso-Inchausti 9 Vergara 1 Del Castillo 2 Blanco (captain) 3 Bracic 4 Puig 5 Castellucci 6 Fresneda 7 Capell 8 Calvo
Bench: 16 Antolinez 17 Roman 18 Delgado 19 Bianchi 20 Gorrocha Tegui 21 Aresti 22 Z. Perez 23 Blanco-Hortiguera

Referee: Holly Wood (RFU)
ARs: Sara Cox (RFU) and Maria Heitor (FPR) TMO: Ian Tempest (RFU)


On the card front, we were limited to a yellow for Ines Bueso-Inchausti in the 80th minute, which by current standards is a small mercy.

Like the Wales-USA game, this brought together two teams competing in different tiers of the WXV, so Las Leonas can take comfort from the many passages of bright, constructive play they put together.

This was Scotland’s only game between the last Six Nations and the coming WXV. Was it really enough?