Easson: Preparation key ahead of qualifiers
Interim head coach, Bryan Easson this week spoke about the preparation which will be required to get the Scotland squad ready for the 2021 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in December, following the rescheduled Women’s Six Nations fixtures, which get underway with a match against France at Scotstoun next month.
Scotland also play Wales, before their final Six Nations game against Italy at the start of December – a match which will double up as a repechage tie as part of the qualification process for next year’s Rugby World Cup.
With a number of important games on the horizon, Easson says they’re going to need to put in a lot of hard work over the next three months.
Speaking on this week’s Official Scottish Rugby Podcast, he said: “I expected all the players to be at different levels, because when we all went into lockdown some players had access to gyms in their garage and some players were living in a flat. What was really positive was that the group were having Zoom sessions led by Jade Konkel, where they were doing fitness work and Allan MacDonald [Scotland Women’s Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach] sent out really good programmes to everybody, so they’re in a really good place.
“The French league has been up and running and also the France national squad are based in Paris, so they’ll have been doing a lot. You can do as much fitness as you like, but it’s not the same until you start doing contact and you’re feeling the bumps and bruises. We’ve had to gradually build it up and Dr James Robson has been excellent in terms of advising us what we can and can’t do. The last game anyone played was in February against England, so we have to build it up [ahead of the France match].
“We had four or five weeks prior to coming into Oriam last weekend, where they were doing regional sessions at BT Murrayfield, Scotstoun and in Aberdeen, along with the work the girls are putting in down south, so it’s testament to the work they’ve put in. They’ve worked really hard and it’s really positive to see. Last weekend was a bit easier because they were able to do more than I was expecting.
“We have another camp in two weeks’ time and another one after that, when we’ll get some referees in and we’ll look at doing some games. We have 10 sessions between now and the France game to try and get everything in, so there is a lot of work to be done.”
Easson who was assistant coach under Philip Doyle, the man he has replaced, is excited about the group he will now be leading and the opportunities which lie ahead.
He added: “I’m not starting a new journey with them, they’re continuing where they left off. On the other hand, it’s a fresh start because we have a clear goal and although we have the Six Nations games, we’re also going into Rugby World Cup qualifiers. That’s the big one for us. That’s where we’re going and our focus is clearly on.
“The ultimate goal this season is to qualify for the Rugby World Cup, so it comes down to those three games in December. We can use the Six Nations games as preparation [for the Rugby World Cup qualifiers], but clearly anytime you pull on the blue jersey and you have the thistle on, you want to win games. There is no doubt about that, but we can use those games [against France and Wales] as good prep and we can look at different groupings and different personnel to get us in position for the Italy game. That’s the one we’ll be really building up for.”
Listen to the recent Official Scottish Rugby podcast epsiode with Bryan Easson on your podcast platform, or using the website player below.