The race for the final European place at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 remains in the balance after Spain edged the first leg with their hosts Scotland 10-5 at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday.
The sides will meet again next Saturday in Madrid with the winner to join defending champions England, USA and Italy in Pool B for the 9-26 August showpiece.
On a cold and wet evening in Glasgow, Scotland started off strongly and dominated the early possession, but were made to rue their failure to turn it into points when Olympian Patricia Garcia kicked an 11th-minute penalty for Spain.
Scotland, ranked four places lower than Spain at 13th in the World Rugby Rankings, kept up the pressure on Las Leonas and were finally rewarded when second-row Deborah McCormack (pictured) scored her first test try just before the half hour.
They couldn’t turn their dominance into points, though, and instead it was Spain who took the lead for the second time when Vanessa Rial took advantage of some slick passing to dummy and score, Garcia adding the conversion for a 10-5 half-time lead.
Scotland found themselves on the defensive for long periods after the break and Spain were denied a try first when the TMO ruled their attempt was short of the line and then, from the resulting scrum, flanker Paula Medin crashed over but was adjudged to have been held up.
The home side managed to withstand the pressure and full-back Chloe Rollie weaved her way through the defence only to be stopped just short and then a driving maul was bundled into touch by a relieved Spanish defence as they held on for a narrow victory.
The victory will Spain's rating by two tenths, but not enough to alter their position of ninth in the World Rugby Women's Rankings. Scotland will remain in 13th when the rankings update at 12:00 GMT on Monday.
Photo: Scottish Rugby / SNS Group