After last year’s incredible display many believed Edinburgh Ladies RFC would be victorious again at the 2016 Scottish Varsity clash against St. Andrews. With eleven internationals in the Edinburgh Ladies starting fifteen most expected them to win but no one expected the score-line to end up being quite as one sided as 97-0.
Right from the whistle Edinburgh dominated every aspect of play. They were playing quick, relentless rugby which Saints could not keep up with. Within five minutes Edinburgh had put seven points on the board. The opening period of the game set the tone for the rest of the encounter because from this point it was clear St. Andrews were being outclassed.
The next three minutes saw a try and conversion in each minute. Outside centre and Woman of the Match Megan Gaffney went over twice within two minutes and Lisa Thomson added another five to take the total to four tries in just under a quarter of the game and a score of 28-0.
At this point we must mention the skipper and fly half Sarah Law. In difficult Scottish conditions, and by that I mean windy and drizzly, Law was unphased and kicked like a dream. An even more remarkable performance when the angle and length of the kicks were difficult. Even Saints fans were commentating on how difficult the conversions were but Law got all of them and really helped propel her team to just shy of a century.
The first scrum of the game when to Saint Andrews and they collected the ball and went wide until it went to ground, allowing Edinburgh to turn the ball over with some aggressive rucking before some quick hands and quicker feet saw Elizabeth Musgrove touchdown. Three minutes before the break Saints starting fighting back and finally got deep into the Edinburgh half and at one point were yards from the try line but Edinburgh’s defence held up their re-energised opponents.
Edinburgh drove them backwards but Saints still had the ball but slow play and a very static attacking line ended when Saints committed two handling errors. Edinburgh were once again in possession and the skipper’s sister openside flanker Rachel Law scored right on half time bringing the score to 47-0.
Within ten minutes of the second half Saints were on very shaky ground. Hooker Hannah Kurtz scored within sixty seconds, Gaffney got another one in the right corner and second row Debbie Lee went over near the posts as replacement kicker Helen Scullion slotted home each conversion making the score 66-0.
A period of resurgence came from Saints Ladies with them yet again getting onto Edinburgh’s try line but once more Edinburgh were the stronger team and held them up and turned over once again before tighthead prop Kate Dougan scored twice in as many minutes to take Edinburgh seventy-eight points clear.
Even though Saints were at this point vanquished, the game continued to be a fast paced skilful yet physical encounter with big hits coming thick and fast, and plenty of demonstrations of completely legal but aggressive rucking. This was one thing that made the game stand out, even when Saints were obviously defeated they still gave it their all and Edinburgh never toned down their efforts – it was in every essence a physical display right until the very end.
At the conclusion of the game Edinburgh were victorious by 97-0 (their biggest margin ever) and in every way, shape and form they had annihilated and outclassed Saint Andrews. Once the Saints Ladies had changed and took their seats for the Men’s game they started singing “when the Saints go marching in” which was ironic because they in fact did no such “marching in” of their own.
Image courtesy of Matt Ford