Women aiming to pass Italian Test with flying colours

Scotland Women travel to Italy this weekend to play their Italian counterparts in a friendly, as part of their build-up to the 2015 6 Nations.

This match marks the return of a competitive fixture earlier in the season for the squad, which is welcomed by head coach Jules Maxton who said: “We’ve had great support, and a more co-ordinated approach, with our strength and conditioning this season so this is a great opportunity to test ourselves and get up to match intensity.”

The team features a mix of experience – in the shape of 70-times capped prop Heather Lockhart and returning captain and fellow prop Tracy Balmer – and new faces, a number who have progressed through the women’s pathway and under-20 squad.

Maxton said: “We’ve included scrum half Mhairi Grieve and winger Hannah Sloan in the starting XV, both of whom have graduated from the under-20 side, while centre Leanne Neary will be making her first start for the national team.”

The Scots last met their opponents during the 2014 6 Nations at Stadio Parco Urbano, when they were defeated 45-5, and will be looking to redress that score on Sunday, though Maxton is under no illusions that the ever-improving Italians will prove a tough challenge.

“They’ll be coming into the game pretty confident after finishing fourth in last season’s 6 Nations. They play a very offloading game and we’ll need to call on all the skills we’ve been building on during our weekly sessions to counter that. We’re all looking forward the challenge and the experience this game will give us as we build towards next year’s Championship.”

Scotland Women take on Italy at Nuovo Impianto Rugby, Via dei Gladioli, Cretara, Avezzano (L'Aquila) on Sunday 23 November, kick-off 2.30pm (1.30pm GMT).

 

Scotland Women team v Italy

 

15 Gillian Inglis                                                           Melrose

14 Hannah Sloan                                                       Stewarty

13 Laura Steven                                                         Murrayfield Wanderers

12 Leanne Neary                                                       RHC Cougars

11 Stephanie Johnston                                         Worcester

10 Lisa Martin                                                             Murrayfield Wanderers

9 Mhairi Grieve                                                           RHC Cougars

 

1 Heather Lockhart                                                Hillhead Jordanhill

2 Lana Skeldon                                                          Melrose

3 Tracy Balmer                                                           Worcester

4 Deborah McCormack                                        Richmond

5 Emma Wassell                                                       Murrayfield Wanderers

6 Lyndsay O’Donnell                                              Worcester

7 Tess Forsberg                                                         Richmond

8 Rachael Cook                                                          Murrayfield Wanderers

 

Substitutes

16 Sarah Quick                                                           Murrayfield Wanderers

17 Lisa Robertson                                                    Murrayfield Wanderers

18 Christianne Fahey                                            Murrayfield Wanderers

19 Jade Konkel                                                           Hillhead Jordanhill

20 Karen Dunbar                                                      RHC Cougars

21 Claire Bain                                                             RHC Cougars

22 Harriet Cumber                                                  Murrayfield Wanderers

23 Eilidh Sinclair                                                       Murrayfield Wanderers