Scotland Women Mix Youth, Experience And Sevens For England Fixture

Scotland Women kick-off their opening match in the Women’s Six Nations Championship with a team reflecting a mix of maturity, new faces and the experience gained through playing a summer of sevens.

Eagerly anticipating their opening fixture against England (Saturday 2 February, at Esher, kick-off 2pm), head coach Karen Findlay said: “Scotland against England always has that added edge and it’ll be a really good opportunity to see how our training has progressed, how our squad has developed and be an exciting start to the 2013 campaign.”

The campaign warmed-up with a training game against the British Army ten days ago, played in blizzard conditions, Scotland edging the opposition 10-5 on the night.

"It’ll be a really good opportunity to see how our training has progressed, how our squad has developed."

Findlay said: “It was really important our players had the chance to trial some things we’ve been practising in training and from a coaching perspective, it was a great opportunity for us to try out some of the combinations we wanted to look at in terms of our front five, back row and midfield.”

Making her debut in the Scotland jersey is Bridget Millar-Mills, alongside fellow lock Lindsay Wheeler who makes her 53rd appearance for her country,

Welcomed back into the starting XV is winger Annabel Sergeant, after a season out and experience gained while playing for the national women’s sevens squad. She lines up alongside fellow sevens team members Steph Johnston (full-back), Sarah Dixon (outside centre), Megan Gaffney (wing), Louise Dalgliesh (scrum half), Tess Forsberg (openside flanker) and Susie Brown (no 8) who, once again, captains the squad.

Meanwhile prop Heather Lockhart wins her 59th cap, having made her Scotland debut in November 2004. Sarah Quick retains her place at hooker with Tracey Balmer returning at tight-head. Mary Lafaiki, at blindside, makes her first start for Scotland after six appearances as substitute.

Newcomers to the squad, on the bench, are Becca Parker, Jade Konkel, Sarah Law and Leanne Neary. While Becca, daughter of former Scotland B forward Hugh, honed her early skills by continuing to play through university, Jade, Sarah and Leanne have developed their game through Scotland Women’s age grade programme. Sarah, who turned 18 last month, was first capped for Scotland Women 7s in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 7s qualifier in Moscow in June 2012, just days after leaving school.

Watch head coach Karen Findlay talk about preparations for the game

Scotland Women to play England Women, Saturday 2 February 2013, Esher RFC, kick-off 2pm

15     Steph Johnston         RHC Cougars
14     Annabel Sergeant      Richmond
13     Sarah Dixon              RHC Cougars
12     Lisa Ritchie               Carlisle
11     Megan Gaffney          Hillhead Jordanhill
10     Tanya Griffith             RHC Cougars
9       Louise Dalgliesh         RHC Cougars

1     Heather Lockhart         Hillhead Jordanhill
2     Sarah Quick                Murrayfield Wanderers
3     Tracey Balmer             Worcester RFC
4     Lindsay Wheeler          Richmond
5     Bridget Millar-Mills       Worcester RFC
6     Mary Lafaiki                Hillhead Jordanhill
7     Tess Forsberg             Richmond
8     Susie Brown (c)          Richmond

16     Beth Dickens                Murrayfield Wanderers
17     Suzanne McKerlie-Hex   Murrayfield Wanderers
18     Lindsey Smith              Hillhead Jordanhill
19     Becca Parker                Hillhead Jordanhill
20     Jade Konkel                 Hillhead Jordanhill
21     Sarah Law                   Murrayfield Wanderers
22     Leanne Neary              Murrayfield Wanderers
23     Lauren Harris              Melrose 

SCOTLAND WOMEN fixtures 2013

Friday 18 January           Scotland 10 - 5 The Army (training game)    
Saturday 2 February        Scotland v England                                Esher, Surrey      k/o 2pm  
Sunday 10 February        Scotland v Italy                                     Mayfield, Dundee k/o2pm (free admission)
Saturday 23 February      Scotland v Ireland                                 Lasswade            k/o 2pm (free admission)
Sunday 10 March            Scotland v Wales                                  Scotstoun             k/o 2pm (free admission)

Friday 15 March              Scotland v France                                 Dijon                   k/o 7pm