SCOTLAND’S women’s team’s hopes of reaching a first Rugby World Cup in more than a decade remain alive after a last-gasp victory over Ireland.

Megan Gaffney was part of the Scotland team that won in Parma to go through to a repechage tournament, likely to be played in the New Year, and keep hopes alive of an appearance at the global tournament for the first time since 2010.

Scotland, including North Berwick’s Gaffney (pictured by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group), had to win the contest in Italy to have any chance of reaching the Rugby World Cup, which takes place in New Zealand next year.

They led 8-5 at the break and extended their advantage to 13-5 just minutes after the restart.

However, Ireland would go 18-13 up and looked to have secured their own spot in the repechage, which will feature three other countries from across the globe, with seconds to play.

But Chloe Rollie then touched down before Sarah Law kicked the conversion to give Scotland the win 20-18.

Bryan Easson, head coach, said: “We’ll enjoy the moment because the girls deserve to celebrate.

“Then, when we get back to Scotland, we’ll sit down as a management team and work the rest of it out.

“We’ve worked really hard for this, and you can see that.

“We’ve not just won two games here. Over the last seven games, we’ve drawn with France and won another three other matches, so we’re going in the right direction, but we’re certainly not resting on our laurels.

“We’re determined to keep improving, improving and improving.”