02222018

Wales edge Scotland in tense Women’s Six Nations opener

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Women’s Six Nations highlights: Wales 18-17 Scotland

Wales held out for a tense win over Scotland as the 2018 Six Nations began in Colwyn Bay.

Rowland Phillips’ side led 13-0 at the break and 18-5 afterwards, but Scotland fought back to take the game to the wire.

Wings Jess Kavanagh-Williams and Hannah Bluck touched down in the first half.

Chloe Rollie hit back with a brace before Kerin Lake scored for the hosts and Jade Konkel’s try brought Scotland to within a point.

Wales head coach Rowland Phillips gave debut caps to four of his starting XV – lock Natalia John, flanker Beth Lewis, scrum-half Jade Knight and wing Bluck.

Beth Lewis of Wales is tackled by Scotland's Lisa Martin<!–

Beth Lewis of Wales is tackled by Scotland’s Lisa Martin

Two more new names – Teleri Davies and Lisa Neumann – were on the bench while several senior players are in Australia with Wales Sevens, as part of preparations for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Scotland arrived in north Wales with four professionals in their ranks, including Konkel, a back-rower who started at prop in this encounter.

The hosts dominated the opening half, denying Scotland an attacking platform for almost the whole 40 minutes.

Wales, however, struggled to drive home their advantage apart from the two well-worked tries for wing Kavanagh-Williams and Bluck.

Full-back Jody Williams’ sublime pass gave Kavanagh-Williams the chance to accelerate and side-step her way to the line.

Jody Williams added a penalty as Wales’ forward pressure paid off.

Jess Kavanagh-Williams celebrates her opening try for Wales<!–

Jess Kavanagh-Williams celebrates scoring Wales’ opening try

Captain and hooker Carys Phillips’ powerful drive paved the way for Bluck’s try as she was freed to score at the corner for Wales to lead 13-0 at the break.

The visitors struck back from the restart as full-back Rollie’s pace took her away from the home defence.

Wales responded with style as centre Lake made the most of a ragged defence, but slick passing sent Rollie away for her second touchdown.

The visitors put the game on a knife-edge when Konkel went over from close range and Helen Nelson converted.

What’s next?

The focus of the women’s tournament now turns to France hosting Ireland on Saturday and England going to Italy on Sunday.

Wales travel to the Twickenham Stoop for their round two game on Saturday, 10 February while Scotland will host France the same day.

Wales: Jodie Evans (Scarlets); Hannah Bluck (Cardiff Blues), Kerin Lake (Ospreys), Rebecca De Filippo (Dragons), Jess Kavanagh-Williams (RGC); Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys), Jade Knight (Scarlets); Caryl Thomas (Scarlets), Carys Phillips (Ospreys, capt), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Natalia John (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Beth Lewis (Scarlets), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys).

Replacements: Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Gwenllian Pyrs (RGC), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Teleri Davies (RGC), Nia Elen Davies (Scarlets), Rhiannon Parker (Cardiff Blues), Lleucu George (Scarlets), Lisa Neumann (Scarlets).

Scotland: Chloe Rollie (Lille Metropole); Liz Musgrove (Edinburgh University), Lisa Thomson (Lille Metropole), Lisa Martin (DMP Sharks, capt), Rhona Lloyd (Edinburgh University); Helen Nelson (Murrayfield Wanderers), Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning); Jade Konkel (Lille Metropole), Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning), Megan Kennedy (Stirling County), Emma Wassell (Murrayfield Wanderers), Deborah McCormack (Harlequins), Hannah Smith (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Louise McMillan (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Sarah Bonar (Loughborough Lightning).

Replacements: Lana Skeldon (Watsonians), Siobhan McMillan (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Lindsey Smith (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Mags Lowish (Loughborough Lightning), Siobhan Cattigan (Stirling County/Stirling University), Jodie Rettie (Thurrock RFC), Sarah Law (Edinburgh University/Murrayfield Wanderers), Lauren Harris (Edinburgh University).

Referee: Sean Gallagher (Ireland)

TMO: Claire Hodnett (England)

What Next?

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