Rachel Malcolm explained her decision not to opt for a kick at goal in the closing stages of Scotland’s 15-12 defeat to Ireland in Belfast.  

Scotland won a penalty about 15m from touch on the Irish 22 but opted to go to the corner rather than have Helen Nelson attempt a kick at goal.  

The Scotland captain said: “The position of the penalty was the reason.” 

READ MORE: Five things we learned as Scotland fall to late Ireland defeat

Scotland went on to win the lineout and mounted several phases inside Ireland’s 22 before losing possession.  

Malcolm admitted taking a drop-goal, which would have secured the two match points needed to secure qualification for the Rugby World Cup, and a place in WXV 1, was not discussed.  

Head coach Bryan Easson said: “We were attacking quite well inside the 22. There was an instance I had a bit of an issue with, but we got turned over.  

"There is confidence in the group in going for a score.” 

Easson said he agreed with the decision of captain Malcolm given the tough nature of the kick at goal.  

He added: “When it functions, our maul is excellent as you saw in the first half.  

“Whatever decision we make on the pitch is the right one. You can compartmentalise and look at little things but we weren’t accurate enough in certain areas of the game and that’s what disappoints us more than anything.” 

Malcolm praised her team, but admitted to huge frustration and disappointment that Scotland weren’t able to secure qualification for their second straight World Cup.  

They will get another chance to qualify through WXV later this year, where the top six sides who have not already booked their spots will earn places at the World Cup.  

She said: “Defensively we put in a brilliant performance, especially in the first half, but we can’t defend for that length of time.  

Scotland Rugby News: Scotland's Rachel Malcolm tries to block Irelands Dannah O’Brien Scotland's Rachel Malcolm tries to block Irelands Dannah O’Brien (Image: PA)

“There were opportunities where we could’ve won the game and we didn’t take them. We’re disappointed and frustrated, but it doesn’t take away from what we’ve achieved this championship.” 

Easson said while defeat at the Kingspan will feel like a step backwards, the squad. 

“That was frustrating because the championship as a whole suggests we are moving forward. We wanted to finish it off in a way we deserved.  

Scotland lost scrum-half Caity Mattinson early on and Easson said she was in the hands of the medical team.