Women’s Six Nations 2023: Scotland 36-10 Ireland – Scots finish with back-to-back wins

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Fran McGhie
Fran McGhie’s brilliant solo score earned Scotland a bonus point as they thrashed Ireland
Scotland (5) 36
Tries: Smith, Skeldon, Bartlett, McGhie, Malcolm, Rollie Cons: Nelson 3
Ireland (3) 10
Try: Fryday Con: O’Brien Pen: O’Brien

A scintillating Fran McGhie try propelled Scotland to back-to-back Women’s Six Nations victories for the first time in 17 years as they consigned Ireland to the wooden spoon.

McGhie’s fabulous solo effort earned the hosts a bonus point, and fourth place in the final tournament match.

Meryl Smith, Lana Skeldon, Leah Bartlett and Rachel Malcolm and Chloe Rollie also crossed for the hosts.

Ireland end their campaign without a point, Nicola Fryday scoring their try.

Fourth place is Scotland’s highest Six Nations finish since 2017, and guarantees Bryan Easson’s side a berth in the second tier of the inaugural WXV tournament, which takes place later this year.

Ireland will enter the third tier, and the visitors more than held their own in a ferociously contested first half devoid of attacking opportunities and red-zone possession before a record Scottish crowd of over 4,000.

Teenager Dannah O’Brien, a consistently assured presence, slotted an early penalty.

Ireland pummelled away at the Scots, winning a penalty in the home 22, and attempting to maul their way to the opening try. Scotland held firm, Louise McMillan with a crucial piece of spoiling.

At the other end, Mairi McDonald exchanged slick passes with Rachel Malcolm and scampered to within five metres of the line, but scampered a little too much on her hands and knees for referee Sara Cox’s liking.

The breakthrough arrived with the clock red at the end of the first half. Scotland booted a penalty to the corner, and though the maul was halted, Smith went crashing over from the first phase.

Skeldon produced a similarly powerful finish seven minutes into the new half, a classic hooker’s try from the back of a line-out drive. The Hawick native picked her moment to pounce beautifully, pirouetting beyond a tackle and grounding.

Helen Nelson missed both conversions, allowing Ireland to level at 10-10 when their skipper Fryday muscled over for just her side’s third try of the championship, O’Brien adding the extras.

But from then on, it was all Scotland.

McGhie’s effort was the pick of the home scores, the 19-year-old searing up the left wing before cutting wickedly inside and outsprinting the cover defence. McGhie has been a brilliant addition to Easson’s squad this year.

Captain Malcolm, a relentless totem and workhorse for her team, had her say in the dying minutes. She lost the ball forward powering over on penalty advantage, but ploughed through two Irish tackles to touch down safely from the next attack.

Nelson converted both tries, before Rollie completed the rout with a typically classy finish on the final play.

Scotland entered the Six Nations on a brutal losing streak which stretched to 12 matches before Italy were beaten last weekend.

They end it in truly rousing fashion, with an energised home support and reinvigorated squad eager to attack the WXV.

Scotland: Chloe Rollie, Coreen Grant, Emma Orr, Meryl Smith, Francesca McGhie, Helen Nelson, Mairi McDonald, Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Jade Konkel-Roberts, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (c), Rachel McLachlan, Evie Gallagher.

Replacements: Jodie Rettie, Anne Young, Elliann Clarke, Eva Donaldson, Eilidh Sinclair, Caity Mattinson, Beth Blacklock, Liz Musgrove.

Ireland: Lauren Delany, Aoife Doyle, Aoife Dalton, Vicky Irwin, Natasja Behan, Dannah O’Brien, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Christy Haney, Nichola Fryday (c), Sam Monaghan, Brittany Hogan, Grace Moore, Deirbhile Nic a Bháird.

Replacements: Clara Nielson, Sadhbh McGrath, Kathryn Buggy, Hannah O’Connor, Dorothy Wall, Ailsa Hughes, Anna McGann, Méabh Deely.


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