Scotland coach Bryan Easson opts for experience against Spain

Sarah Bonar, Caity Mattinson and Chloe Rollie will all start for Scotland against Spain on Saturday.
Sarah Bonar, Caity Mattinson and Chloe Rollie will all start for Scotland against Spain on Saturday. Image: Peter Watt (N50 Sports Photography).

SCOTLAND will take three uncapped players and some relatively inexperienced individuals to next month’s WXV2 tournament in South Africa. However, when it comes to the one and only warm-up game for that competition – against Spain at Edinburgh’s Hive Stadium on Saturday – head coach Bryan Easson has decided to stick with the tried and trusted.

Thirteen members of the starting line-up played in the team’s last match, the Six Nations win against Ireland. The other two, wing Rhona Lloyd and lock Sarah Bonar, are among the most experienced members of the squad. Lloyd, who was on GB 7s duty during the Championship, has 42 caps; Bonar, who missed the tournament through injury, has 34.

“It’s great to have the Spain fixture, as when you go into any tournament it’s important you have an opportunity to pit yourself against different opposition with different playing styles,” Easson said this morning after announcing his team. “We know that when we go to Cape Town for WXV, we will be playing against South Africa and USA in the first two weeks who are both physical sides, but we are also playing against Japan who play more open-style, faster rugby – and Spain fall into some of those categories.

“In terms of the selection, we’ve looked at a few permutations and some players who are coming back from injury who need game time. So there is a really good mix of experience and youth in the squad for this weekend.”

Replacement hooker Elis Martin is the least experienced member of the 23 with just one cap to her name, while Francesca McGhie and Eva Donaldson have five and Anne Young has six. But all have adapted quickly to the demands of Test rugby and already appear to be established members of the group.

Jade Konkel and Coreen Grant miss out on the Spain game because of injury, but Easson is confident they will be available to face South Africa in the first WXV match.

Scotland (v Spain at Hive Stadium, Saturday 5.45pm): C Rollie; R Lloyd, E Orr, M Smith, F McGhie; H Nelson, M McDonald; L Bartlett, L Skeldon, C Belisle, L McMillan, S Bonar, R Malcolm (captain), R McLachlan, E Gallagher. Replacements: E Martin, A Young, L Cockburn, E Donaldson, E Wassell, C Mattinson, L Thomson, E Musgrove.

About Stuart Bathgate 1392 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.