Stirling County host today's RBS 6 Nations women’s international when Scotland meet their French counterparts at Bridgehaugh (kick-off 2pm - ENTRY FREE. The venue may be a first for Scotland Women but for flanker Lindsay Wheeler, the French international marks her 50th outing in the international jersey.
Wheeler says: “France are a team who sometimes don’t travel well. We just need to work on our defence, make sure we keep our shape and put in the tackles. France are easily frustrated and they like to kick. We have to make sure we prevent them from playing their game.”
Lindsay grew up in Corrie on the isle of Arran – perhaps not viewed as a traditional rugby-playing part of the country – where, along with her peers at Arran High School, she took up the game.
She explains: “In my school, the fifth and sixth year girls were really keen on starting a rugby team so we got some of the boys to start coaching us. Then we had a coach for a while, who didn’t really believe we wanted to play, lined us all up on the try line and told us to dive on the ground – so we all did. We were really enthusiastic.”
Continuing to study in Edinburgh – she’s now a physiotherapist, working at Homerton University Hospital in north London – she played for the University women’s team and went on to win her first cap in Sweden, against the home nation.
“It was a five-day camp and we played on the last day, I was really shocked to be in the squad and I started in the second row and scored a try! It was a really good experience for me and a great introduction to international rugby,” she says.
With 49 caps-worth of highlights to consider, what would Lindsay rate as her top memory?
“Probably the win against France two years ago at home [Scotland won 10-8 at Lasswade]. France is a team that you rarely come close to beating so that was a real high point.”
Lindsay and her team mates have a chance to repeat that performance against France on Sunday in what, despite improving performances, would be Scotland’s first win of the championship after defeats to England and Wales earlier this month.
She says: “There were positives to take from the game against Wales – in the second half our shape improved dramatically, we covered the pitch well and just gave away that one try at the start. The scrum improved and we definitely had a better performance at the lineout – that was something missing from the England game and something we can build on."
Scotland Women to take on France Women at Bridgehaugh, kick-off 2pm
15 Stephanie Johnston (RHC Cougars)
14 Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers)
13 Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
12 Lisa Ritchie (Carlisle)
11 Sarah Dixon (Stirling County)
10 Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers)
9 Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars)
1 Tracy Balmer (Worcester)
2 Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers)
3 Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers)
4 Anna Swan (RHC Cougars)
5 Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
6 Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond)
7 Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
8 Susie Brown (Richmond)
16 Lindsey Smith (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
17 Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
18 Katherine Muir (Richmond)
19 Charlotte Veale (London Wasps)
20 Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars)
21 Caroline Collie (OA Saints)
22 Lauren Harris (Melrose)