SCOTLAND coach Philip Doyle has made some intriguing selections for his first international in charge of the team when they take on South Africa on Monday. It is by and large an experienced side, with established names such as Chloe Rollie and Jade Konkel in their usual positions – but with others in new, experimental roles.
Lisa Thomson, normally a centre or stand-off, is on the right wing. Sarah Law, usually a scrum-half, is at stand-off. And openside Louise McMillan moves up to second row. There are no new caps among the starting 15, but versatile forward Christine Belisle will make her debut if she comes off the bench.
Announcing his team this afternoon for the first of a two-Test visit to South Africa, Doyle explained that, while the moves for Thomson and McMillan would initially be short-term, he and attack coach Bryan Easson had decided that Law would be best used at 10 rather than 9.
“Myself and Bryan identified Sarah as a 10 earlier on this season,” he said. “We thought that what she brings to our attack would really suit Scotland’s game at 10. She’s very cool under pressure and has a really nice kicking game as well. And her distribution game is excellent. Obviously the proof will be in the pudding, but we’re very happy with that selection.
“Louise came in at lock after Sarah Bonar had to drop out with injury. We’re looking for most improvement in our scrummaging, so that’s why we’ve picked her there, and it also brings a nice ball-carrier into the second row as well.
“And Lisa on the wing – it’s a ballsy call, to be fair. But since I’ve taken over Lisa has really bought into my standards. She’s worked damn hard first of all to get picked on this tour, but also on the strength and conditioning side of things. On the wing she’s going to bring a lot of physicality – something we’re going to need against South Africa. She has pace and she has power.”
Scotland (v South Africa in Athlone, Monday 4pm BST): Chloe Rollie; Lisa Thomson, Hannah Smith, Helen Nelson (captain), Rhona Lloyd; Sarah Law, Mhairi Grieve; Lisa Cockburn, Lana Skeldon, Mairi Forsyth, Emma Wassell, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm, Rachel McLachlan, Jade Konkel. Substitutes: Jodie Rettie, Panashe Muzambe, Megan Kennedy, Christine Belisle, Siobhan Cattigan, Jenny Maxwell, Abi Evans, Megan Gaffney.