A dramatic end to Wales’ opening match in the Rugby World Cup saw Keira Bevan slot the 85th minute penalty to secure the 18-15 win over Scotland in Whangārei.
A strong start for Wales saw a penalty awarded in their favour to clinch the territory in Scotland’s half. After winning the initial lineout, another penalty for Wales on the five-metre line set the side up in a solid position for Alisha Butchers to pick up and power over the line to open the score. Elinor Snowsill slotting the extras to give her side an early 7-0 lead.
Keen to keep the scoreboard ticking over in their favour, another penalty for Wales saw Snowsill opt for the posts which she had no issues with to extend Wales’ lead 10-0.
Scotland then won a penalty on the 15-minute mark the opportunity to put their names on the scoreboard went begging.
But the Scots had the opportunity once more and after a prolonged period of pressure in the Welsh 22, Lana Skeldon drove over the line off the back of a maul for the try after 30 minutes.
From the restart, Wales looked to gain back momentum and keep hold of their early dominance.
A penalty in Scotland’s half set the side up once again for the attack. Hannah Jones drawing in the Scottish defence followed by some beautiful offloading through Snowsill and Meg Webb set Kayleigh Powell up to go over for try number two to put Wales 15-5 ahead.
The Scots looked to answer back once again but a penalty went astray kept them from adding the points.
The side in red looked to go again just before half time with a big carry from skipper Jones making huge strides in mid-field to gain the ground. But Scotland held their own to keep Wales at bay going in at the break.
Running out for the second half, Wales looked to finish where they left off. Jasmine Joyce putting her foot to the floor to slice her way through the Scottish defence for the break only for a try saving tackle to stop her in her tracks. Still in a strong position, Wales kept plugging away at the defence only for a possible try to be held up over the line to deny them the score.
As the game entered its final quarter, Scotland stepped up a notch to push Wales back. Testing the Welsh defence, a series of penalties against Wales kept the Scottish side firmly in control. With the penalties continuing to go against Wales in their own 22, Cara Hope received a yellow card to reduce the side to 14. Utilising the player advantage, Scotland ran the ball out wide for Megan Gaffney to score.
Looking to turn things back around in their favour, a blitzing break from Butchers took her inches from the try line before being brought down to give Scotland the scrum.
Taking play back out of the danger zone, Scotland booted the ball back up field to turn the attack. Wales were dealt another blow late on with a yellow card for Jasmine Joyce for a deliberate knock on.
Launching their attack, Scotland stretched the Welsh defence and sent Gaffney over out wide for her second try. No conversion kept the scores even as the match entered its final minute.
Keeping in the fight, Wales ran it back from the restart as they looked to clinch back the lead as the clock ran red. Notching up 24 phases, Wales clinched the penalty advantage in the 83rd minute to hand Keira Bevan the shot at goal to clinch the 18-15 victory!