Scotland warmed up for their Women’s Six Nations campaign as they played out an entertaining clash against Spain, falling 29-24 despite a spirited display in Madrid.
The visitors had led 12-10 at half-time, but a trio of unanswered Spain scores turned the game, with Chloe Rollie’s reply proving too late to force a comeback.
Spain broke the deadlock early on after a five-metre lineout saw Scotland’s defence tested, before the hosts moved the ball out wide, Maria Losada reacting first in the ruck for a pick and go over the line.
But Scotland responded in perfect fashion, with Six Nations stalwart Helen Nelson forcing her way over after repeated pressure on the Spain line before she stepped up to convert her own score.
And the visitors went ahead soon after, Hannah Smith spotting a gap and burrowing through to put Scotland 12-5 ahead.
Their lead was cut when Maria Garcia dotted down in the corner with the first-half drawing to a close, but Scotland boasted a 12-10 advantage at the break.
And it was a score they would build on early in the second 40, Smith going over for her second of the match after good work from Rollie.
But Spain fought back with a vengeance, levelling through Laura Delgado before Scotland were caught sleeping at the set-piece, with Patricia Garcia taking advantage.
Spain grabbed another score to buff their lead, making it 29-17, and Rollie’s response – despite capping a fine display from the full-back – came too late to kickstart a charge.
Scotland can take heart from a battling performance that saw them play some free-flowing rugby as they prepare to host Italy in their Six Nations opener on Friday 1 February.