Scotland’s efforts in Kharkiv ensured that they finished fifth at the second leg of the European Grand Prix women’s circuit, and as the second-highest ranked non-HSBC World Sevens Series side they have secured their spot in the 2020 qualifiers.
The Scots faced a tough proposition ahead of them as they were drawn in a tough-looking pool including France, Ukraine and Poland. However, they were dealt an early blow by losing 17-12 to Poland in their first game, before beating Ukraine 45-0.
A defeat to France in their final pool game set up a clash with Russia in the quarterfinals. Despite taking an early lead on the second day against the eventual Grand Prix Series Champions through a Chloe Rollie try; they were eventually put to the sword by the ruthless Russians.
The Scots then came up against Italy in the 5th-8th ranking semi-finals; in which the Scots played tremendously. The Italians led with a minute to go, but the Scots never say die attitude came to the fore and a last-minute try by Rachel McLachlan handed Scotland the win despite being down to six players.
This win saw them face Belgium in their final sevens game of the year, and the Scots confidence was on full display. Megan Gaffney and Rollie both scored tries in the 36-7 win. The head coach of the national side, Scott Forrest, was delighted with the second day’s performances and claimed that the team’s aim of getting into the World Series Qualifiers had been achieved.
Speaking to the Scottish Rugby website, he said: “The team played very well against Russia, especially in the first half, when we were a try each at half time. The reality of playing against a quality team and the eventual Champions of the Grand Prix Series showed in the second half.
“The big thing from the Italy game was the belief we showed. We were a score down and down to six players, but the belief the players showed and the real intent was great to see.”
Main photo: Rugby Europe