Women open campaign with performance in focus

A new coach, a new captain and a focus on consistency in performance underline the Scotland side that will kick off their Six Nations campaign at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld on Friday evening against England (k/o 6pm).

Head coach Shade Munro said: “We’re focussing on us, improving the team we have and looking forward to the challenge of the Six Nations.

“This tournament will give the players and staff a benchmark of the areas we need to focus on – both as a team and as individuals – to ensure our future development.

“We need to break the game into parts – defence, set piece, attack – and focus on doing these things well. 

“Overall we have to centre on the players we have and how we can improve our consistency.”

Fullback Chloe Rollie, who made her debut in last season’s Six Nations, starts alongside the more experienced halfback pairing of captain Lisa Martin at stand-off and scrum half Sarah Law who makes a welcome return from injury.

Winger Megan Gaffney, who was recently included in the Team GB 7s squad, is partnered on the left wing by the uncapped Rhona Lloyd who impressed for Scotland Women under-20 last season.

The centre pairing comprises Hannah Smith, who made her first start at Broadwood last year against Wales, and the uncapped Lisa Thomson, who began her rugby with Jed Minis and was recently awarded the Keri Holdsworth Player of the Match when her University of Edinburgh team beat St Andrew's in the Varsity Cup.

The pack sees an experienced front row comprising 30-capped loosehead Tracy Balmer alongside the Hillhead Jordanhill duo of hooker Lana Skeldon and tighthead Lindsey Smith. Emma Wassell and English Premiership-winner with Richmond, Deborah McCormack, both on 11 caps, making up the second row.

In the back row Murrayfield Wanderers’ openside Karen Dunbar is joined by Jemma Forsyth at blindside and Jade Konkel at no 8.

The bench, meanwhile is a mix of experience and youth ranging from newcomer Debbie Falconer, a product of the Stirling club, to Heather Lockhart, on 77 caps, both covering at prop.

Reviewing the side for his debut Six Nations as coach Munro said: “Rhona Lloyd is an outstanding prospect, fast and strong, while Lisa Thomson is a powerful runner.

“Sarah Law is a naturally gifted rugby player, Jade Konkel is one of those powerful, skillful players and our captain, Lisa Martin, epitomises everything you would want from a player – she understands the game and leads by example.”

 

Scotland Women team v England Women, Friday 5 February, Broadwood Stadium, k/o 6pm

15. Chloe Rollie *            (Murrayfield Wanderers)                                

14. Megan Gaffney         (Hillhead Jordanhill)                                        

13. Hannah Smith           (Lichfield)                                                         

12. Lisa Thomson *         (Melrose / Edinburgh University)                    

11. Rhona Lloyd               (Murrayfield Wanderers / Edinburgh University)

10. Lisa Martin *             (Murrayfield Wanderers) (capt)                      

9.   Sarah Law *              (Murrayfield Wanderers / Edinburgh University)           

 

1.   Tracy Balmer             (Worcester)                                                     

2.   Lana Skeldon *          (Hillhead Jordanhill)                                        

3.   Lindsey Smith            (Hillhead Jordanhill)                                        

4.   Emma Wassell *       (Murrayfield Wanderers)                                

5.   Deborah McCormack (Richmond)                                                      

6.   Jemma Forsyth         (Hillhead Jordanhill)                                        

7.   Karen Dunbar            (RHC)                                

8.   Jade Konkel *            (Hillhead Jordanhill)

                                       

Substitutes                                                                                               

16.Sarah Quick              (Murrayfield Wanderers)

17. Debbie Falconer      (Stirling County / Stirling University)

18. Heather Lockhart     (Hillhead Jordanhill)

19. Fiona Sim                (Saracens)

20. Anna Stodter           (Saracens)

21. Jennifer Maxwell    (Leeds Beckett University / Lichfield)

22. Lauren Harris           (Eccles)

23. Eilidh Sinclair *       (Murrayfield Wanderers)

*BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy players

 

Scotland Women Six Nations

Friday 5 January, v England, Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld  k/o 6pm  *

Sunday 14 February, v Wales, The Gnoll, k/o 2pm

Sunday 28 February, v Italy, Campo Arcoveggio, k/o 2.30 (local, 1.30 UK)

Friday 11 March, v France, Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld k/o 6pm  *

Sunday 20 March, v Ireland, Donnybrook, k/o 1pm

Scotland Women and Scotland Under-20 combine their matches into double-headers against England and France. Tickets are £10 (adult entry to both matches) with seniors, under-18s and Scotland Season Pass holders free. Tickets are available to buy now.