Spain coach José Antonio Barrio insists qualification for Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 is anything but a foregone conclusion after the first leg against Scotland at the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow ended in a 10-5 win for Las Leones.
All the points came in the first half with Spain taking an early lead thanks to a Patricia Garcia (pictured) penalty, before Scotland hit back with a try from second-row Deborah McCormack.
Stout defending by Spain thereafter kept Scotland scoreless and it was the visitors who took the spoils of victory when Vanessa Rial crossed for a try which Garcia converted.
With such a slender advantage, Barrio believes that attack will be the best form of defence when the sides meet again on Saturday at the Estadio Central in the Universidad Complutense in Madrid.
“This is like a two-round bout. The first one was about trying to test your opponent. Now is the time to strike. Only if we play well will we have opportunities to win,” he said.
“Scotland competed hard at the breakdown so we need to match them there. They were also strong in the set-piece so we can’t relax for one second.”
Women’s rugby in Spain is part of a government-backed sports development programme, aiding the growth of the game in the country, and qualification for Women's Rugby World Cup on the back of the exposure generated by their sevens team at Rio 2016 will be a significant boost.
Admission to this qualifier is free and a big crowd is expected with Barrio admitting “We can’t wait for the game to start and to have the backing of a home crowd.”