After draw with France in the Six Nations, interim head coach Bryan Easson wants side to hit even greater heights against Wales…
Scotland interim head coach Bryan Easson was a happy man after his team fought back from 13-3 down to grab a Six Nations draw with France at Scotstoun on Sunday.
Given his charges had not played an international Test match for over eight months there were plenty of positives on show – and now he wants them to get even better when they travel to play Wales in their fourth outing in the showpiece event this coming Sunday.
“I think the draw leaves us in a good place and shows us the levels we can reach, there are loads of positives to take from and also plenty of other things to work on and now we have to go even further,” he said.
“We are now fully focused on the Wales game and putting ourselves into a good place before the big games in December in the World Cup qualifiers.”
“It was about relentlessness and working hard off the ball”
The positive result against the fourth best team in the world was built on solid defence while No.8 Jade Konkel was named player of the match.
France had made all of their substitutions by the 58th minute and it came back to haunt them when they suffered an injury and had to play with 14 players for the rest of the match.
Scotland sensed an opportunity and closed the gap to seven points in the 64th minute through a penalty by stand-off Helen Nelson before she missed another a couple of minutes later.
However, in the 73rd minute Scotland were level, a brilliant try out wide by winger Rachel Shankland on debut converted expertly by Nelson to make it 13-13.
“I am very proud of the team, we worked hard over the last few weeks on relentlessness and working hard off the ball,” Easson added.
“I saw the work rate they put in as outstanding and to hold France out at times when we were under pressure was really good.
“At 8-3 at half-time we actually said to the girls that we were the team in the ascendancy and we were not worried at all.
“We believed that we were putting them under pressure with some excellent ball carries and players like Hannah Smith and Jade Konkel were getting good leg drives and were getting France going backwards.
“There were times where we were giving France straight on tackles and at the breakdown they were slowing our ball down, so we had to shift the point of contact a bit wider and get on the outside edge of the French defenders.
“In the second half we showed more patience and scored a great try through Rachel Shankland which Helen Nelson did really well to convert.
“The team was outstanding.”
France took the lead in the sixth minute when second-row Safi N’Diaye went over for an unconverted try.
The Scots got into their rhythm soon after though and earned a penalty which Nelson kicked to make it 5-3.
Full-back Jessy Tremouliere kicked a penalty for France to make it 8-3 in the 22nd minute and, despite some good stuff from the Scots, it stayed that way until the break.
Scotland wanted a good start to the second period, but it did not come and it was France who extended their lead in the 45th minute.
It came through another strong drive by their pack, hooker Agathe Sochat credited with the unconverted score.
Scotland then made some changes to freshen things up and, with France shorthanded in the last 22 minutes they played some of their best rugby seen in the last couple of years to grab the draw.
Thanks to Rugby People for the images
The Badge of Shame Company is a gender-neutral ethical clothing company created to celebrate kindness, inclusion and equality.
Set up in 2019 by Lauren Harris, a retired Scotland rugby player, the Badge of Shame Company supports sustainable fashion and good humans.
All of our organic cotton clothing promotes positive messages with ranges for both grown-ups and tiny humans. In 2020 we pledge to support non-profit organisations by donating 10% of charity tee profits to charities that work to support humans in need.
Please check out our website and help us spread the kindness.