By Hannah Blackwell
Keira Bevan will continue to think of the green, green grass of home as she progresses with Wales at the Rugby World Cup.
With one under their belts, thanks to her dramatic late penalty against Scotland, Bevan and her teammates are now turning their attention to their next Pool A game against hosts New Zealand on Sunday.
If she gets some goal-kicking opportunities again then the scrum-half will once more imagine she is back home on the practice field.
“I kind of forgot where I was,” Bevan says of her match-winning effort against the Scots.
“I have done a lot of kicking at the Vale (of Glamorgan) where we train and at my local pitch. So, and I know it sounds cliched, but I just pictured being there, when no one was around.
“I just blocked everything out and stuck to my process.
“I didn’t even want to look at the ball when it went over, I was just head down and praying, basically.”
“As soon as I knew we had penalty advantage, I asked the ref for the pen because I knew it was in a kickable spot. I said to Hannah [Jones], I could kick it and, yeah, the rest is history, I guess.
The climax to Wales’ opening match saw Bevan slot the 85th minute penalty to secure the 18-15 win over Scotland in Whangārei.
Two second-half tries from Megan Gaffney were in vain as Scotland’s first match at a Rugby World Cup in 12 years ended in a heart-breaking defeat.
Wales had dominated the scoreboard throughout, leading from the sixth minute until two minutes from the end when Gaffney powered over for her second to level the scores.
It looked for all the world that the match would end in only the third draw in tournament history but after 25 phases of play with the clock in the red, Wales were awarded a penalty and replacement scrum-half Bevan, kept her nerve to kick her side to victory from 30 metres out.
“It was all about getting the win,” said Wales coach Ioan Cunningham.
In the Women’s Rugby World Cup #WRWC in Whangārei yesterday, Italy pizzaed USA 10-22, Canada sushied Japan 5-41 and Wales whizzed Scotland 15-18. Too many pies USA? https://t.co/4IMi7FTwzH
— TEIVOVO Rugby (@TEIVOVOdigital) October 9, 2022
“We’re very chuffed with the win, and it gives us a foothold and something to go for now. Next week is a fresh challenge.”
Scotland captain Rachael Malcolm said: “The way we defended in those last minutes was incredible and Wales did extremely well just to be patient and wait for a mistake, which did ultimately come.
“And they showed incredible nerve to get that penalty and the game.
“It could have gone either way right at the end and it’s just unfortunate we were on the wrong end of it.
“We showed what we can do in parts. It’s about doing that consistently for 80 minutes. We know Australia will be a massive challenge but it’s about putting everything we have into that game.”