SCOTLAND coach Philip Doyle has been forced to reshuffle his back division for Sunday’s match against England because of injuries to winger Megan Gaffney and outside centre Hannah Smith. Evie Tonkin comes in on the left wing as a straight replacement for Gaffney, while Sarah Law is promoted off the bench to start at stand-off, Helen Nelson moves from 10 to 12, and Lisa Thomson takes Smith’s 13 jersey.
Sarah’s uncapped sister Rachel Law comes on to the bench, as does the experienced Heriot’s winger Annabel Sergeant. The pack is unchanged from the one that began the 18-14 defeat by Ireland at Donnybrook.
“Hannah was carrying a very small injury into the last game and we knew it was touch and go for this game,” Doyle explained. “So really it was precautionary giving her a rest for a couple of weeks to get her fully fit for Italy. We have great experience with Helen and Lisa in the centres, and I’ve been really impressed with Evie going back into the Spanish game. It was a tough call [at full-back] between Evie and Chloe Rollie for the Irish game.”
Although the two enforced changes have not caused major disruption, Scotland will still be up against it when they take on England. Their games so far since Doyle took over have shown a degree of progress, but they will need to continue that upward curve even to keep the score line respectable against opponents who beat them 80-0 at Twickenham in the final game of last year’s Six Nations.
“Eighty-nil is just unacceptable: I’ve said that before,” the coach continued. “They’re a different team this year and they’re really up for the challenge.
“It is all about how we play against England. The one thing we cannot do this weekend is go and try and stop England. It’s not that they’re unstoppable – not like that at all – but we must dictate our Scottish game plan and get them to stop us.
“We have our strengths and they have their weaknesses. If we want to win, we have to score points. How many will that take? I’m not too sure. But the girls are well up for the challenge of having that physicality put against them and trying to get over that try line – and I think we have the tools to do that.”
Scotland (v England at Scotstoun, Sunday 12.10pm, live on BBC Alba): Chloe Rollie (Harlequins); Rhona Lloyd (Loughborough Lightning), Lisa Thomson (Darlington Mowden Park), Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning), Evie Tonkin (Darlington Mowden Park); Sarah Law (Darlington Mowden Park), Mairi McDonald (Hillhead Jordanhill); Leah Bartlett (Loughborough Lightning), Lana Skeldon (Darlington Mowden Park), Mairi Forsyth (Corstorphine Cougars), Emma Wassell (Corstorphine Cougars), Sarah Bonar (Loughborough Lightning), Rachel Malcolm (captain, Loughborough Lightning), Rachel McLachlan (Darlington Mowden Park), Jade Konkel (Harlequins). Substitutes: Molly Wright (Watsonians), Panashe Muzambe (Edinburgh University/Watsonians), Lisa Cockburn (Darlington Mowden Park), Siobhan Cattigan (Stirling County), Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Rachel Law (Edinburgh University), Annabel Sergeant (Heriot’s Blues), Alex Wallace (Harrogate).
England: Emily Scott (Harlequins); Abby Dow (Wasps), Emily Scarratt (Loughborough), Amber Reed (Bristol), Jess Breach (Harlequins); Zoe Harrison (Saracens), Natasha Hunt (Gloucester-Hartpury); Vickii Cornborough (Harlequins), Lark Davies (Loughborough), Sarah Bern (Bristol), Poppy Cleall (Saracens), Zoe Aldcroft (Gloucester-Hartpury), Sarah Beckett (Harlequins), Vicky Fleetwood (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (captain, Loughborough). Substitutes: Amy Cokayne (Harlequins), Hannah Botterman (Saracens), Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins), Harriet Millar-Mills (Wasps), Amelia Harper (Loughborough), Claudia MacDonald (Wasps), Katy Daley-McLean (Loughborough), Sarah McKenna (Saracens).