Scotland set the standard: Five things we learned, report and stats

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Just twenty three days between Scotland Women’s 38-0 loss to Italy and Calvisano and Tuesday evening’s 28-25 defeat to Canada, but it seemed like the squad had been in camp together for months between the two such was the marked improvements.

In Italy, the Scots were hesitant, second to every ball, lacked ball carriers and lacked ambition and clarity in attack.

Against Canada at Scotstoun they started the game faster, competed at the breakdown well, carried ball aplenty with back-rows Siobhan Cattigan and Jade Konkel leading the way and bagged four tries.

And, but for a ball being knocked out of Konkel’s hands over the try line or skipper Lisa Thomson’s penalty going over in the closing stages then the 11th in the world ranked Scots could have defeated the fourth ranked Canada.

Head coach Shade Munro said:  “That has to be our standard going forward, it is one that perhaps got away, but the girls played very well.”

Five things we learned

The Italy showing has been consigned to history

 Let’s be brutally honest, the loss in Calvisano was one of the most disappointing of Munro’s reign as head coach and went wrong from minute one. The players went into their collective shell in that one, but have clearly had their heads up since then and could, and perhaps, should have beaten Canada. This must be a launchpad now.

Jade Konkel is back

 Having only played 60 minutes for Harlequins’ development team since recovering from a long-term shoulder injury, there were some concerns that the No.8 would be undercooked for this one. Not a bitt of it, she carried like she had never been away and, but for some brave work by her opposite number, cold have scored the winning try.

Scotland have unearthed some strong ball carriers

 It was not just Konkel who was taking the game to the Canadian defence, player of the match Megan Kennedy had her best game in a dark blue jersey, hooker Lana Skeldon, as always, led from the from and Cattigan looked composed and strong. In the backs, centre Helen Nelson had some strong breaks before injury.

The strength in depth is slowly growing

This November Lisa Cockburn, Rachel McLachlan, Mairi Forsyth, Lucy Winter and Bryony Nelson have earned first caps while Charlotte Runcie is not far away. The group of players that Munro has to choose from is growing and that will raise internal intensity as training continues over the winter ahead of the Spain game and then the Six Nations.

At key moments the team still needs better game management

 This was much-improved, but when you play this way you should perhaps see things home and get a win. Eighteen months ago this group of players were just coming through together and, after just losing to Ireland, they managed things better next up to beat Wales. Sometimes key points in games call for cooler heads and the players will learn from this experience.

Report and stats

Scotland Women put in a great performance at Scotstoun on Tuesday night against Canada, but came up just short, losing by three points in the end.

The hosts were trailing 28-25 with three minutes to go and earned a penalty in the Canada ‘22’, but captain Lisa Thomson missed the kick and the chance of a draw had gone.

Scotland took the lead in the opening two minutes when they won a penalty and centre Helen Nelson kicked it over from some distance.

Canada responded soon after, second-row Tyson Beukeboom going over for the try. Scrum-half Brianna Miller converted to make it 7-3 after five minutes.

Scotland had some good phases of play and Nelson had a couple of half breaks, but they were struggling to make headway.

And just after the first quarter of the match had passed the visitors scored their second try, centre Tausani Levale going over. Miller again converted.

The hosts got themselves right back into things in the 33rd minute when they scored a well-worked try through winger Abi Evans, the ball having been shipped left quickly and she finished sharply.

Nelson could not convert and was then forced off with injury, but the Scots scored again just before half-time.

A lineout was taken at the tail by tighthead prop Megan Kennedy and, after she had gone close, No.8 Jade Konkel powered her way over. Stand-off Lisa Martin converted and it was 15-14 at the break.

Beukeboom got her second try of the day in the 44th minute for Canada, full-back Irene Patrinos converted and it was 21-15.

Scotland were still mixing it with their opponents though and, with winger Bryony Nelson now on for a first cap, they scored their second try in the 56th minute.

It came through centre Thomson, but Martin could not convert.

Just before the hour mark Canada scored their fourth try through back-row Janna Slevinsky which Patrinos converted to leave things at 28-20.

With 17 minutes to go in this end-to-end clash Scotland closed the gap to three points when second-row Emma Wassell went over from close range.

Martin’s conversion missed, but with seven minutes to go the Scots nearly went ahead again.

A great break by full-back Chloe Rollie got them close to the line and then, as Konkel was diving over the line to score the ball was knocked from her hands by opposite number Cindy Nelles.

And  four minutes later Thomson’s penalty was skewed wide and the much improved Scots were left to wonder what might have been.

Scorers: Scotland: Tries: Evans, Konkel, Thomson, Wassell. Pen: H Nelson. Con: Martin. Canada: Tries: Beukeboom 2, Levale, Slevinsky. Cons: Miller 2, Patrinos 2.

Scotland: C Rollie; L Harris, L Thomson (C), H Nelson, A Evans; L Martin, M Grieve; L Cockburn, L Skeldon, M Kennedy, E Wassell, N Howat, S Cattigan, R McLachlan, J Konkel. Subs: J Rettie, S McMillan, M Forsyth, L Winter, L McMillan, J Maxwell, B Nelson, A Sergeant.

Canada: I Patrinos; A Corrigan, A Holly, T Levale, A Samek; A Tessier, B Miller; B Kassil, L Russell (C), O DeMerchant, N Fuamba, T Beukeboom, S Svoboda, J Slevinsky, C Nelles. Subs: G Boag, M Laliberte, D Menin, A DuGuid, C Edwards-Challenger, L Josephson, P Farries, E Alarie.

Referee: B Benvenuti (Italy).

Attendance: 2,457.

Thanks to Adrian Henry/Rugby People and Scottish Rugby’s Twitter for the photos

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