JADE Konkel and Sarah Bonar have both returned to the Scotland squad for this month’s Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament after missing out on the Six Nations because of work commitments. Back-row forward Konkel has been training as a firefighter in London, while lock Bonar has begun a new job in the RAF. Rachel Malcolm also returns as captain, having missed all of the Six Nations because of injury.
Head coach Bryan Easson has brought in the uncapped Edinburgh University forward Eva Donaldson, but otherwise the 28-woman squad is very much along the lines of the one that finished fifth in the Six Nations. “The squad selection has been difficult as the players have really stepped up to the mark in our recent training camps,” Easson said. “As a result, we’ve seen a lot of competition for places, which has been a real positive from a coaching perspective.
“In this round-robin tournament, every game counts and we know that we will have to hit the ground running in the first game to keep our qualification chances in sight. We are very familiar with our opponents and we know that they will each present very different game plans, but we firmly believe we have the ability to adapt to each challenge that may arise.”
The round-robin tournament in Parma will see Scotland play against Italy, Ireland and Spain, with games taking place on 13, 19 and 25 September at the Stadio Lanfranchi, Zebre’s home ground. The definitive fixture list has yet to be announced. The winners will go straight through to next year’s World Cup finals, while the runners-up will enter a repechage. The World Cup, itself, postponed from this year to 2022, will be held in New Zealand.
Scotland squad for RWC European qualifying tournament:
Forwards: Leah Bartlett (Loughborough Lightning), Christine Belisle (Cartha Queen’s Park), Sarah Bonar (Harlequins), Siobhan Cattigan (Stirling County), Lisa Cockburn (Darlington Mowden Park), Katie Dougan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Eva Donaldson (Edinburgh University), Evie Gallagher (Stirling County), Jade Konkel (Harlequins), Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning, captain), Rachel McLachlan (unattached), Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Lana Skeldon (unattached), Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning), Molly Wright (Watsonians).
Backs: Abi Evans (Darlington Mowden Park), Megan Gaffney (Heriot’s), Sarah Law (unattached), Rhona Lloyd (Loughborough Lightning), Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning), Mairi McDonald (Hillhead Jordanhill), Liz Musgrove (unattached), Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning), Chloe Rollie (unattached), Rachel Shankland (Stirling County), Hannah Smith (Watsonians), Lisa Thomson (unattached), Evie Wills (Stirling County).