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Hannah makes a good impression in Six Nations U18 festival

By Iain Grant

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Hannah Dunnett makes a break during Scotland's 24-22 win against Italy. Picture: Craig Watson / Inpho / Six Nations
Hannah Dunnett makes a break during Scotland's 24-22 win against Italy. Picture: Craig Watson / Inpho / Six Nations

Hannah Dunnett thoroughly enjoyed her first taste of international action in last week's Six Nations Under-18 women's rugby festival.

The Thurso High School pupil was the sole north representative in the 26-strong squad who took part in the three matches.

Her appearances made for the perfect early birthday present for the youngster, who turned 17 on Saturday.

The squad were together for eight days at the festival in Edinburgh.

Hannah played the first half in the first game versus Wales which they lost 24-0 and the second half in their 0-0 stalemate with Italy.

Both these abridged, 35-minute games went ahead on the back pitches at Murrayfield.

Hannah showed up well in both and featured at the top of Scotland's tackle stats.

The final match was a 35-minute each-way rematch with the Italians at Edinburgh Rugby's DAM Health Stadium last Wednesday.

Hannah was due to be deployed as an impact replacement but was instead introduced after 20 minutes, with Scotland 12-0 in front.

The hosts looked to be on easy street after they added a third try to the two they scored in the opening minutes.

But the Italians replied with three of their own before the break to reduce the leeway to 19-17.

The match remained very much in the balance and it tipped in favour of the junior Azzurri when they finished off an intense spell of pressure with an unconverted try with less than 10 minutes left to put them 22-19 in front.

But Scotland battled back and, with four minutes left, Hannah scragged her opponent, pirated the ball and set off a move which ended with Stirling County's Nicole Flynn touching down wide out to give Scotland victory by 24-22.

Hannah was regularly at the heart of the action and impressed with her slick service and her cover tackling.

Hannah's dad Sinclair, the Caithness girls' coach, said: "She had a great time. It was a totally different environment for her and she got some really good feedback from the coaches.

"She also made some friends for life during her time there."

Hannah will be eligible to play next year for the under-18s, though her passion for rugby is going to have to take a back seat over the next month as she aims to get the exam grades she needs to secure a place at Edinburgh University.

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