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Spain get their Championship campaign off to a flyer

Spain went to the top of the women’s Rugby Europe Championship table with a 70-0 bonus point win over Netherlands on Sunday.

The visitors went into the match off the back of a confidence-boosting 38-12 bonus point triumph over Sweden eight days before.

However, in Pins Vens, Sitges, Barcelona, there was only ever going to be one winner after a slick start from the Spanish side.

They are now above Netherlands in the table via points difference and know a triumph over Sweden in La Vila Joiosa (Alicante) on February 25 would see them retain their title in the three-team event.

The first try for Spain came after two minutes when a quick tap set up winger Clara Piquero to score.

In the ninth minute, a kick ahead then saw full-back Claudia Peña going over. The same player converted and it was 12-0.

The third try arrived in the 17th minute when back-row Alba Capell and, five minutes later, try four came from centre Alba Vinuesa after a great break from stand-off Zahia Perez. Peña converted, Spain had the bonus point and it was 24-0.

Before half-time centre Maider Aresti and winger Claudia Perez both scored tries on their debuts and Peña got her second and converted one to make it 41-0 at the interval.

Capell was yellow carded for a tackle in the air just after the break, but then Netherlands had a player yellow carded themselves and it was 14 versus 14 for a spell.

During that period Claudia Perez got her second try and then Capell, just back on the field, got her second try. Peña converted and it was 53-0.

Lucía Gayoso, the back-row, scored try number 10 and, despite suffering another yellow card, Spain went on to add two more tries.

They came from replacement María Miguel and No.8 Carmen Castellucci while sub Alba Alpin kicked a conversion.

Peña was named Player of the Match for her 18 points in the impressive triumph.

After the game Spain captain Cris Blanco said:  “I was really pleased with our physicality, that gave us a base from which to build the win from.”

Head coach Juan Gonzalez said:  “We are very happy with the performance. We made good steps forward and a lot of the new players did well. We managed territory very well.”

For Netherlands this was a tough day at the office, no doubt, but their heads never went down and they are certainly growing as a women’s rugby nation.

By Gary Heatly
Photos by Walter Degirolmo/FER Rugby

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