By Gary Heatly
Scotland’s women were beaten in the dying seconds of the final at the Rugby Europe Championship event in Lisbon on Sunday when Poland bagged a late converted try.
It was a frustrating end to an encouraging weekend, but a good first outing for any sort of national team since the exciting ‘Women and Girls’ Strategy 2022-2026’ was made public by Scottish Rugby recently.
In the final in Portugal, head coach Scott Forrest’s charges were 15-12 ahead and on course for the trophy, but confusion over how long was left to play allowed Poland one last chance from a lineout – and they took advantage to break Scottish hearts.
Scotland took a silver medal after the 19-15 loss and will now want to dust themselves down and earn gold in the second – and final – leg of the Championship in Krakow, Poland, between this coming Friday and Sunday.
The tries for Scotland in the final came from Rhona Lloyd and Meryl Smith (2).
Scotland had got through to the final after topping Pool B.
On Saturday in pool play they defeated Germany 14-5 with Chloe Rollie and Liz Musgrove scoring tries and Lisa Thomson converting both.
Then they secured a very impressive 19-12 win over Ireland.
They went 5-0 down to the World Rugby Sevens Series outfit, but tries from Rollie and Smith (2) – plus two Helen Nelson conversions – got them through.
Day one ended with a 14-14 draw with Spain, Thomson and Lloyd with tries and Nelson two conversions.
Pool play finished on Sunday morning, Romania put to the sword 50-0.
Lloyd (3), Emma Orr, Rachel McLachlan, Rollie (2) and Shona Campbell scored tries with Nelson and Smith sharing five conversions.
Before the final on Sunday, the placings matches took place.
Wales finished 10th after ninth placed Romania beat them 21-7, Germany were eighth and Belgium seventh.
Spain had to make do with sixth after a brilliant performance by Czechia saw them win the clash between the two 14-12 and take fifth place.
France found their top form to clinch third – and the bronze medal – with a 33-7 win over fourth placed Ireland.
Poland lead the standings with 20 points with Scotland on 18 and France on 16.
Germany won the men’s event in Lisbon.
And as well as the rugby at the weekend, the Scotland squad were also celebrating team mate Jade Konkel’s wedding to Helen on Saturday from afar while Rollie celebrated her 27th birthday on Sunday.
After Krakow, Scotland will then play at the Commonwealth Games at the end of July. Then the players will re-join their XVs team mates and crank up preparations for the World Cup in New Zealand in October and November.
Points scorers for Scotland in Lisbon
Meryl Smith 26 (4 tries, 3 cons)
Rhona Lloyd 25 (5T)
Chloe Rollie 20 (4T)
Helen Nelson 12 (6C)
Lisa Thomson 9 (1T, 2C)
Liz Musgrove 5 (1T)
Emma Orr 5 (1T)
Rachel McLachlan 5 (1T)
Shona Campbell 5 (1T)
Shona Campbell (Edinburgh University)
Megan Gaffney (Loughborough Lightning)
Evie Gallagher (Stirling County)
Rhona Lloyd (Les Lioness du Stade Bordelaise)
Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks)
Liz Musgrove (Unattached)
Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning) (C-C)
Emma Orr (Biggar)
Chloe Rollie (Exeter Chiefs)
Eilidh Sinclair (Exeter Chiefs)
Meryl Smith (Edinburgh University)
Lisa Thomson (Sale Sharks) (C-C)
Evie Wills (Hillhead Jordanhill)
Thanks to Rugby Europe/Scottish Rugby for the photos