LOUGHBOROUGH Lightning loosehead Leah Bartlett is the only uncapped player in Scotland’s starting line-up for Sunday’s friendly against Spain in Almeria, having impressed head coach Philip Doyle with her commitment in training. Watsonians’ Molly Wright, Hillhead/Jordanhill’s Mairi McDonald and Alex Wallace of Harrrogate could all make their debuts off the bench in a fixture against opponents who have been one of the national team’s closest rivals over the last few years.
Injuries have ruled out two of the team’s most experienced players, full-back Chloe Rollie and openside Rachel Malcolm. Evie Tonkin takes over from Rollie, while Rachel McLachlan comes into the back row and Helen Nelson resumes the captaincy in Malcolm’s absence. Otherwise, the spine of the team is a settled one, from Lana Skeldon at hooker and Jade Konkel at No 8 to Hannah Smith and Lisa Thomson in the centre.
“I am excited to see what this team will deliver in Spain,” head coach Philip Doyle said after announcing his matchday squad. “We have a good mix with some experienced players but also a number hoping to receive their first cap for Scotland. Leah has settled in well with the squad and has really shown some great physicality and game understanding. She has impressed us and has warranted a start.
“Spain are going to be a tough side to play, especially in Spain, so I will be expecting the players to put everything into this match and come away with a performance that will put us in a good stead ahead of theSix Nations.”
Scotland (v Spain at the Estadio Juan Rojas, Almeria, Sunday 11am British time, live on BBC Alba): Evie Tonkin; Rhona Lloyd, Hannah Smith, Lisa Thomson, Megan Gaffney; Helen Nelson (captain), Jenny Maxwell; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Mairi Forsyth, Emma Wassell, Sarah Bonar, Siobhan Cattigan, Rachel McLachlan, Jade Konkel. Substitutes: Molly Wright, Panashe Muzambe, Lisa Cockburn, Christine Belisle, Louise McMillan, Mairi McDonald, Sarah Denholm, Alex Wallace.