Women determined to continue progress

Scotland head into the final weekend of this 6 Nations' campaign looking to build on their performances over the last four matches, which have seen deficits reduced and more points on the board.

While the pack remains the same as last Friday's meeting with England there are changes to the backs, as the squad prepare to take on Ireland (Sunday 22 March, Broadwood Stadium, kick-off 1pm) who currently sit in second place in the Championship table.

Head coach Jules Maxton said: "We're steadily improving with every game but we need to cut out the basic skills' mistakes and defensive errors from last Friday's match, going into this game.

"I was pleased with some of our work in the contact area last weekend but it's all about consistency and we've been working hard, this week, on the areas that let us down against England."

The starting XV sees Melrose's Chloe Rollie retain her place at fullback, having made her Scotland debut in the opener against France and kept the 15 jersey throughout this campaign. Fellow new cap this season, Nuala Deans - who scored a penalty last week - moves from inside centre to right wing.

Making a welcome return from a hand injury sustained in the campaign opener against France, Gillian Inglis is named at outside centre, to win her tenth cap.

Swapping the 13 shirt for 12, Hillhead Jordanhill's Hannah Smith moves to inside centre and last week's try scorer, Kirkcaldy-born Eilidh Sinclair moves across to start at left wing.

Meanwhile the Murrayfield Wanderers' duo of Lisa Martin and Sarah Law retain their half-back pairing at stand-off and scrum half respectively.

Packing down again in the front row are Lisa Robertson at loosehead, Lana Skeldon at hooker and captain Tracy Balmer at tighthead, the latter winning her 30th international cap.

The lock combo of Richmond's Deborah McCormack and Murrayfield Wanderers' Emma Wassell is retained, as is the back three partnership of Rachel Cook at blindside, Karen Dunbar at openside and Jade Konkel at no 8.

With the exception of hooker Sarah Quick coming on to the bench, the remaining replacements are as last week.

In the build-up to their last home match at their new playing base of Broadwood, Scotland Women's Rachael Cook and Lindsey Smith visited nearby St Maurice's High School in Cumbernauld to take coaching sessions with the S1 and S2 girls and front a Q&A with all 300 pupils from those year groups, inspiring the next generation.

As a CashBack School of Rugby, staff at St Maurice's deliver a structured rugby programme in the school, including a focused programme for a number of S1 to S3 pupils who receive up to five curricular and extra curricular sessions per week. Watch the video of the girls' visit here.

Broadwood Stadium has hosted Scotland Women's previous encounters this season, against Wales and Italy, and is a central base for supporters coming to cheer on the international players hailing from clubs and towns the length and breadth of the country. Maxton is under no illusions as to the power of home support and welcomes the return.
She said:

"It's good to be back home and have more of our own support there. We're looking to show more progress, build on our performance against England and finish on a high."

Tickets for the match - £5 (adults) - are available from the Ticket Centre at BT Murrayfield, online and by phone 0131 346 5160, today and tomorrow. Concessions are free. Broadwood Stadium will be selling tickets on match day.

Scotland team v Ireland, Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld, Sunday 22 March, kick-off 1pm

15. Chloe Rollie                                  Melrose
14. Nuala Deans                                 Wasps
13. Gillian Inglis                                   Melrose
12. Hannah Smith                                Hillhead Jordanhill
11. Eilidh Sinclair                                 Murrayfield Wanderers
10. Lisa Martin                                     Murrayfield Wanderers
  9. Sarah Law                                      Murrayfield Wanderers
1. Lisa Robertson                                 Murrayfield Wanderers
2. Lana Skeldon                                   Melrose
3. Tracy Balmer                                    Worcester
4. Deborah McCormack                       Richmond
5. Emma Wassell                                 Murrayfield Wanderers
6. Rachael Cook                                  Murrayfield Wanderers
7. Karen Dunbar                                  RHC Cougars
8. Jade Konkel                                     Hillhead Jordanhill

16. Sarah Quick                                  Murrayfield Wanderers
17. Lindsey Smith                               Hillhead Jordanhill
18. Heather Lockhart                          Hillhead Jordanhill
19. Fiona Sim                                     Saracens
20. Lyndsay O' Donnell                      Worcester
21. Mhairi Grieve                                RHC Cougars
22. Claire Bain                                    RHC Cougars
23. Jenny Maxwell                              Lichfield


Written by
isobel Irvine