Scotland’s Women took on their Italian counterparts at Meggetland in Edinburgh for Sunday’s ‘Wooden Spoon Decider’, both teams having lost all their other RBS 6-Nations matches, some by a considerable margin. Italy started as if they meant it with an attack on the Scottish line from the kick-off. Scotland held them at bay, but at the cost of a penalty, which was missed by Italian full-back Veronica Schiavon.

The next twenty or so minutes saw both teams attacking and defending in turn as the pace picked up, culminating in another Italian penalty award, this one being scored. This was followed in quick succession by another two, both from the boot of Schiavon.

A bit of ‘argy-bargy’ and high tackling towards the end of the half lead to the Scottish Captain, Susie Brown, being yellow carded, which the Italians took full advantage of, to score a converted try to lead into half-time 16-0.

Second half and again, the Italian women fired into action straight from the off to score a try in the first minute from winger Manuela Furlan, with Schiavon missing the attempt at goal.  With Brown back on after a few minutes, Scotland took the game to the Italians, who barely had a hand on the ball for twenty minutes, but managed to hold out a rampant Scottish side on several trips to the visitors 22.

On the 71st minute, however, Italy came up with the last score of the match, with a third try, this time from Schiavon, who missed the kick. Scotland then spent the final few minutes of the match encamped in the Italian 22, but were again prevented from scoring inches from the line on a couple of occasions. Final score Scotland 0 – Italy 26.

Overall the 6-Nations score was Scotland 1 – Rest of Europe 14, over the three concurrent Championships. The Under-20s never seemed to manage to get going properly, certainly in the games reported on, with lots of mistakes and turn-overs, not quite balanced out by some good running rugby.

The Senior squad, again, didn’t play as badly as the results would suggest and could, probably have beaten Wales and England. Their points difference over the Tournament averaging less than -7 i.e. they were ‘beaten’ by less than a try.
Our women entered the tournament with a largely new, young team. as a result it was always going to be difficult to do well, but improvements were swiftly apparent, up until the England match, where they were blown away by the World No. Two team. As an indicator of experience, four of the Scotland’s starting team ‘possessed’ two-thirds of the awarded caps.

Overall, work to do in greater or lesser amounts by all, but the sheer effort and commitment by all of Scotland’s teams can only be commended.
(The above IMHO, of course)

Photo (John Preece) – Susie Brown (scrum cap) and Tess Forsberg held up just short of the Italian line.
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