SCOTLAND full-back Chloe Rollie will take no further part in the Rugby World Cup as a result of the arm injury she sustained in Saturday’s 14-12 defeat by Australia. A tweet from Scottish Rugby added that Rollie, one of the most experienced members of the squad with more than 50 caps, “has successfully undergone surgery today and will remain with the team this week while she recovers”.
Shona Campbell, a substitute for Rollie late in the first half in that Pool A game, is expected to start in the No 15 jersey in Saturday’s must-win game against New Zealand. Scotland are bottom of the pool after also being beaten by Wales in their opening match, but the two losing points they gained from their first two games have given them a glimmer of hope when it comes to qualifying for the quarter-finals.
They will be long-odds outsiders to get a result against the hosts, who are ranked second in the world behind England and are defending the title they won in 2017. But, if they do pull off the shock of the tournament, they could then go through to the last eight as one of the two best third-placed teams from the three pools, or even qualify automatically as runners-up.
A bonus-point win over the Black Ferns would put Scotland on seven points, which will be enough for second place if Australia and Wales draw without picking up try bonus points. A win over New Zealand with four match points would put them third provided the loser of the Wales-Australia game did not pick up two bonuses and thus finish level on points with Scotland: the first criterion for separating teams who finish on the same number of points is the head-to-head result.
If Scotland finish third, they will then be dependent on results from the other two pools. In Pool B it is still possible that the third-placed team will finish on five points – the current total for both the USA and Italy. And in Pool B the third-placed team at present – Fiji – are only on four points.
In the end, the game against New Zealand – who have already beaten Australia 41-17 and Wales 56-12 – may well come down to damage limitation. But. with even that theoretical chance of going through, head coach Bryan Easson will surely select his strongest possible squad.