World Cup qualification hangs in the balance on match day three of the FIRA European Championship as Scotland Women take on the Netherlands in Enkoping, Sweden on Saturday (23 May).
Both sides come into the final Pool A fixture undefeated having registered massive scores and clean sheets against fellow pool opponents Russia and Belgium.
PICTURED: Suzi Newton is back in at 12
Scotland Women’s coach, Jamie Dempsey, has made just one change to the starting backs with centre Suzi Newton returning to inside-centre in place of Erin Kerr while Louise Moffat gets her first start of the tournament as a replacement for the injured second-row Lindsay Wheeler.
Nikki McLeod makes her first championship appearance in the 22 on the bench.
Scotland Women’s coach, Jamie Dempsey, said: “Importantly, while both teams have scored a lot of points, defence is going to be key in this game as both sides will have to hold their own against very attack minded opposition.
“It’s a cup final in effect. The winner’s going to take the honours of both rugby World Cup qualification and basically the European trophy for this group.”
With all of the try scorers from last season’s 26-0 victory over the Dutch present in Saturday’s team (Kerr, Newton and Millard) Dempsey is convinced that, despite the high stakes, his side has what it takes.
“We’ve been fortunate in that Holland played directly after us in both games so we’ve managed to see quite a bit of them on top of our video footage,” he added.
“We know we’re going to have to deserve the victory – nobody’s going to give it to us – but the girls are very focussed on the challenge ahead.
“I’m confident. The girls are playing well. We’ve come here, we’ve always known that we need to win all three games and certainly, having played them in last season’s championships, and seeing what they’ve got this week, we know we’ve got to perform.”
Scotland team to face the Netherlands in Enkoping, Sweden on Saturday 23 May (kick-off 1pm local time)
15 Lucy Millard (Murrayfield Wanderers)
14 Cara D’Silva (Royal High Corstorphine)
13 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
12 Suzi Newton (Team Northumbria / Blaydon)
11 Veronica Fitzpatrick (Richmond)
10 Tanya Griffith (Royal High Corstorphine)
9 Sarah Gill (Murrayfield Wanderers)
1 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead / Jordanhill)
2 Sarah-Louise Walker (Watsonians)
3 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers)
4 Lana Blyth (Murrayfield Wanderers)
5 Louise Moffat (Kirkcaldy)
6 Lynne Reid CAPTAIN (Royal High Corstorphine)
8 Susie Brown (Hillhead / Jordanhill)
7 Donna Kennedy (Worcester)
16 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers)
17 Ellen Beattie (Murrayfield Wanderers)
18 Keri Holdsworth (Watsonians)
19 Nikki McLeod (Edinburgh University)
20 Emma Evans (Watsonians)
21 Erin Kerr (Richmond)
22 Victoria Blakebrough (Richmond)
Martin Currie are the proud sponsor of Scotland Women’s and age-grade rugby
FIRA European Championship – the winner of each pool will be qualified to WRWC 2010 (no knock-out stage)
Scotland (5th in 6 Nations)
Italy (6th in 6 Nations)
Sweden (* have now qualified for the world cup)