Helen Nelson was ecstatic to finally see Scotland produce an 80-minute performance as they secured fifth spot in the 2021 Women’s Six Nations.
Scotland had shown flashes of their ability throughout the Championship but a 52-10 loss to England in Round 1 was followed up by a disheartening 41-20 home defeat to Italy in Round 3 that sent them into the fifth/sixth-place play-off against Wales.
An entertaining encounter at Scotstoun saw Megan Gaffney’s early try set the tone before props Megan Kennedy and Christine Belisle powered over and Evie Gallagher crossed for the hosts’ fourth try.
Wales kept themselves in the contest throughout but Nelson’s 70th-minute penalty put the result beyond doubt, even as Wales’s Caitlin Lewis went over in the corner at the death to make the final score 27-20.
Captain Nelson was named Player of the Match for her kicking from hand and tee, as well as some quick-thinking setting up Kennedy’s try.
But the skipper was much more interested in her team delivering a complete performance and bouncing back from any disappointment earlier in the Championship.
“We had a really tough week last week and I’m so proud that we’ve actually come and produced that,” said Nelson.
“We’ve spoken a lot about believing in ourselves and trying to get that 80-minute performance and I think that’s as close as we’re going to get.
“We absolutely dug deep at times and showed what we can do – I’m chuffed to bits with that.
“We were hard on ourselves last week, so to get that performance out there and get that win in what is an important year for us, I can’t emphasise enough what that is going to do for our belief. We’re really going to take that forward.
“It was so much fun. We talk about our backs a lot, us being dangerous and not afraid to spin it wide and you’re never going to get a nicer day than this!
“So we showed what we can do in the backs and we’ll take a lot of confidence from that moving forward.”