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Scotland 31-17 South Africa: Lana Skeldon stars in opening match of inaugural WXV tournament in Stellenbosch

Scotland hit the ground running at Danie Craven Stadium to open their WXV campaign with victory; England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland will play across the tiered structure; WXV tournaments runs until November 4

WXV Scotland

Lana Skeldon scored two first-half tries as Scotland beat South Africa 31-17 in their opening match of the inaugural WXV tournament in Stellenbosch.

Worcester hooker Skeldon powered over twice in the space of six minutes before half-time to give her side a 17-10 interval lead at the Danie Craven Stadium.

Libbie Janse van Rensburg's early penalty and Aseza Hele's converted touchdown had put South Africa 10-5 up after Scotland number eight Evie Gallagher had scored the game's opening try.

Scotland prop Leah Bartlett's converted score 10 minutes into the second period put her side 24-10 ahead and although South Africa reduced the deficit through Roseline Botes' converted try, the Scots finished strongly.

Great Britain sevens centre Lisa Thomson went over for the game's seventh and final try, with Meryl Smith adding her second successful conversion, to seal victory for Bryan Easson's side.

Italy beat Japan 28-15 in the other Tier 2 game on Friday while Ireland kicked off their Tier 3 campaign with a 17-try 109-0 victory over Kazakhstan in Dubai.

Eighteen teams are taking part in the new three-tier WXV competition, with the top six, including England and Wales, to compete in WXV 1 in New Zealand on October 21 and 28 and November 4.

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What is the WXV format?

There are three tiers, each with six teams - WXV 1, WXV 2 and WXV 3. Each tier is played as a stand alone tournament in a different location, with WXV 1 in New Zealand, WXV 2 in South Africa, and WXV 3 in Dubai.

WXV 1: Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Wales.

WXV 2: Italy, Japan, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA.

WXV 3: Colombia, Fiji, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Spain.

It's a cross-pool format, meaning teams don't play everyone in their tier, instead taking on three nations from outside their continent (with the exception of Ireland vs Spain).

There will be no relegation from WXV 1 for the first two years, but the sixth-placed team from WXV 2 will be relegated to WXV 3 and replaced by the winner of the third tier.

The bottom-placed team from WXV 3 will be at risk of leaving the competition and face a play-off with the next best side according to the World Rugby Women's Rankings.

Teams qualify for WXV through their different regional competitions, with a certain number of spots given to each continent in each tier. For example, the top three European teams compete in WXV 1, and this is determined by the Six Nations standings.

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