Wales became the first of the four teams chasing Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 qualification through the RBS Women’s Six Nation over the next two years to taste victory, running out 20-0 winners over Scotland at Pandy Park on Sunday.
With England and France already qualified by virtue of their top six finishing at WRWC 2010, the two next best sides across the 2012 and 2013 Six Nations Championship will qualify directly for France 2014 with the remaining teams entering a qualification tournament.
Wales got that important first win under their belts on home soil with number Jamie Kift, captain Rachel Taylor and scrum half Amy Day (2) all touching down for tries against a Scotland outfit that had picked up the wooden spoon in 2011.
The victory lifts Wales to third in the table, a match in hand on England and France above them after their opening match against Ireland was abandoned at half-time – with the girls in green leading 10-3 – because of freezing conditions.
Ireland are still searching for their first win after coming within a whisker of an historic first ever victory on French soil, losing 8-7 at the Stade du Hameau in Pau on Saturday despite a spirited second half performance.
An impressive crowd of 9,000 braved the freezing temperatures to see wing Caroline Ladagnous touch down and Aurelie Bailon kick a penalty to send the hosts in 8-0 at half time. Ireland created numerous chances after the break, but only had Claire Molloy’s late try to show for their efforts.
France’s victory keeps the WRWC 2014 hosts on course for an expected title decider with England on the penultimate weekend, the six-time defending champions having proved too strong for Italy with a 43-3 victory in a match moved to an artificial pitch in Recco as a result of the freezing conditions in Milan.
Rochelle Clark, Emily Scarratt, Georgina Roberts and Ceri Large all crossed the whitewash in the first half with Italy’s only reply a penalty from Veronica Schiavon, before a penalty try and scores from Michaela Staniford and Rachael Burford secured the comfortable win.
The Championship continues on 24 February when Italy travel to Ireland, before Scotland host France in Stirling and England take on Wales at Twickenham after the conclusion of the men’s match on 25 February.