Categories
rugby scotland Scotland Women Six Nations women in sport

Scotland Women: My Starting XV vs France

This is the month the Six Nations returns! Scotland women will host France the weekend of October 24th, and I’m too excited to wait until nearer the time to pick my team.

If you haven’t yet read my last Women’s Six Nations post, have a look here for a summary of the tournament so far, and predictions for Scotland’s next three games.

  1. Lisa Cockburn. Leah Bartlett definitely gets a mention here, as one try in only 3 appearances is very impressive for a front row, but a solid scrum is needed against a team like France, so experience wins out.
  2. Lana Skeldon. Find me another hooker that has 28 points from 39 caps and I’ll be a happy woman. Skeldon’s experience, and unexpected kicking ability, gives her an edge over the very exciting Molly Wright, who, like Leah Bartlett, has a try in just 3 caps.
  3. Megan Kennedy. Kennedy has been so unlucky with injuries not to add further to her 15 caps. She’s an absolute warrior. Mairi Forsyth has also been on cracking form, but Megan Kennedy’s unbreakable spirit clinches this one for me.
  4. Emma Wassell. She debuted in the first Six Nations match of 2014 and has played every single game since then. I can’t argue with that, and wouldn’t want to: Wassell is solid in the set piece and a great player in the loose, too.
  5. Nicola Howat. While Howat isn’t as consistent a defender as other players like Sarah Bonar, she’s a leggy, speedy attacker. Against a team like France, it’s worth giving her a run around.
  6. Rachel Malcolm. I’d have Malcolm continuing her captaincy, as she seems to help the team maintain a cool head, which is something Scotland sometimes lacks.
  7. Rachel McLachlan. Such an exciting young player, who makes an absolute nuisance of herself. There’s nobody I’ve hated playing against more. Panashe Muzambe is also great and is unlucky with how great McLachlan’s form has been.
  8. Jade Konkel. At this moment in time, there’s not really a debate. Jade’s the team’s only specialist number 8 listed on the SRU website, and she puts her body and heart on the line for every game.
  9. Jenny Maxwell. Mairi McDonald definitely proved her worth while Maxwell was injured, but for a game that could be as close as the one against Italy, the experience wins out.
  10. Helen Nelson. She proved her leadership ability captaining Scotland 7s, and her skills are undeniable. GB 7s.
  11. Rhona Lloyd. If you’ve ever seen Lloyd get an inch of space on the wing, you’ll know she’s what Scotland needs. Her strength and pace are so exciting. GB 7s. Abi Evans gets a shout here, too.
  12.  Lisa Thomson. More leadership ability in the 10-12 axis from the former captain. Her ability to play 10 gives her a versatile edge.
  13. Hannah Smith. GB 7s. While Smith sometimes attacks solo when a pass is wanted, it’s great to see a Scotland player who wants to get over the try-line, and with a great fringe too.
  14. Megan Gaffney. Gb 7 s. Gaffney is deeply experienced, but also an absolute firecracker. It’s exciting to see what her new club, the National 1 Heriots, will get up to with her on the wing.
  15. Chloe Rollie. Who else? She’s electrifying in attack and fairly solid in defence. Scotland could definitely do with more depth at fullback, but if Rollie continues her great form, anyone else would struggle to get a start here.

Feel free to argue (kindly!) or agree with any of my choices, and keep an eye out for the rest of my match reports and predictions.

Categories
rugby scotland Scotland Women Six Nations sport women in sport

Scotland Women: Six Nations Predictions

Rugby is coming back!

The women’s Six Nations was disrupted by combinations of coronavirus, Storm Ciara, and more coronavirus. While the men’s tournament was almost completed, Scotland’s women could only play two games: an 18-14 heartbreak against Ireland, and a 53-0 thrashing by England.

Two losses from two might not seem encouraging, but let’s look at the facts: Scotland seems to have improved their defence from last year’s 80-0 clobbering from England, and the team have already equalled their one losing bonus point from 2019’s tournament, with three games yet to play. Things are looking up!

This year, Wales are below Scotland on points difference, with two fewer games left in play, having beaten Scotland by only two excruciating points in their meeting last year. It seems hopeful, then, that our women will avoid the wooden spoon in 2020. Scotland’s close run loss to Ireland, who beat Wales 31-12, also suggests that Wales are definitely beatable this winter.

However, they’ve got France to contend with first, a professional team who mirror the talent and wildness of their male counterparts. In the Women’s Six Nations, only England can currently measure up, having recorded a 19-13 win in February. The Scottish ladies are definitely improving, but against France all they can hope for this year is some points on the board. Doyle might think it’s worth testing some exciting new players against this colossus of a French team. Prediction: Scotland 10-40 France.

After their agonising loss last year, Scotland will have a point to prove against Wales, and will have the bonus of more match-fitness after their outing against France, while the Welsh team might be fresher. It could be a brutal match, but I think it’s one that Scotland will edge out, with the team sheet depending on form from the previous game, but definitely edging towards experience. Prediction: Wales 14-19 Scotland.

Italy, another team formed mostly of amateur players, is a win to aim for: Scotland, at their best, could overpower them, but until we’ve seen their form against France and Wales, it’s hard to know how they’ll measure up. Against Italy, especially away from home, I’d suggest Head Coach Philip Doyle will go for experienced players who can keep a cool head, but will it be enough? Prediction: Italy 12-12 Scotland.

Let me know your predictions in the comments, and keep an eye out for my next Scotland women’s rugby post, where I’ll give my suggested Scotland starting XV against France.