Spain kicked off their Rugby Europe Women’s Championship title defence with a commanding 69-0 defeat of the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday.
Playing with a strong wind behind them in the first half at the National Rugby Centre, Las Leonas made a fast start as winger Clara Piquero scored her first test try less than two minutes into her debut.
The Netherlands found it tough to clear their lines in the opening quarter and conceded again when Patricia García capitalised on a mistake from the hosts to score.
It was 19-0 with less than 15 minutes gone when Piquero’s offload close to the Dutch line hit Elisabet Segarra’s boot who reacted first to dot down her second international try on her first test start.
The hosts rallied in the second quarter but were unable to turn territory into points as the score remained the same at half-time.
Spain reasserted their dominance at the start of the second half as Lea Ducher went over in the right corner to score the try that wrapped up an attacking bonus point.
Second-row Anna Puig profited from Iciar Pozo Eizaguirre’s barnstorming run to cross for Las Leonas’ fifth try with 25 minutes remaining, and from there it was all one-way traffic.
Another slaloming Pozo carry ended with Zahía Pérez marking her debut with a try, while replacement scrum-half Julia Castro did likewise less than five minutes later.
Monica Castelo touched down following a driving maul as Spain brought up a half century of points with less than nine minutes left, before Piquero produced a stunning finish to notch her second try of the match.
Piquero then turned provider to lay on a try for flanker Olivia Fresneda and there was still time for Puig to grab a second try and add some further gloss to Las Leonas’ victory.
The result means Spain will secure a fifth successive Rugby Europe Women’s Championship title if they beat Russia in Madrid on Saturday.
Neither side’s position in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini has changed, meaning Las Leonas remain 10th, 1.08 rating points ahead of 11th-placed Wales, and the Netherlands sit 17th.
(Photo: Dennis van de Sande)