Women’s 6N: Scotland v France: Sarah Bonar and Lana Skeldon miss out

Elis Martin and Louise McMillan, who will win her 50th cap, come into the pack for Saturday's game at Hive Stadium

Louise McMillan
Louise McMillan will win her 50th cap for Scotland against France. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND coach Bryan Easson has made two changes to his starting line-up to face France on Saturday, both in the pack and both necessitated by injury. Elis Martin makes her first start at hooker, replacing Lana Skeldon, while Louise McMillan will win her 50th cap after being named at lock instead of Sarah Bonar.

Skeldon injured a knee and Bonar an arm in last week’s 20-18 win over Wales. The Bristol Bears hooker could be back later in the Six Nations according to Easson, but the Harlequins second row will miss the rest of the Championship.

“Sarah will see a surgeon,” the coach said. “It was her AC joint, so she will be out for the full 6N.

“We are still hopeful that Lana’s injury isn’t as bad as first expected. She certainly misses this game and we are still waiting to see exactly what it is for England, but if we can get Lana for a couple of games that would be a real bonus. We do expect to see her back.”

Molly Wright, who came on as a replacement prop in Cardiff, is listed as back-up to Martin this week. Lisa Cockburn is the substitute loosehead, uncapped Fi McIntosh is on the bench as a lock replacement, and Nicole Flynn, also uncapped, is among the backs replacements instead of GB 7s player Shona Campbell, who was unused last week. Campbell is now back with the GB squad preparing for next week’s Hong Kong tournament. Rachel McLachlan, a late withdrawal from the bench last week, is still out injured.

With Jade Konkel already out for the whole tournament, Scotland will go into the France match deprived of three of their most experienced forwards. Having said that, the fact that a player of McMillan’s calibre can come into the team is testament to the increasing depth of the squad.

“I cannot speak highly enough of Louise around the group,” Easson added. “She’s one of those players who you can rely on. She’s always bringing energy to everything we do whether it’s on or off the pitch.

“She’s a great second-row, but she can also play back row, and I think she has grown a lot since she has been down at Saracens in terms of her overall game and her calling of the lineout. She really deserves this occasion this weekend, and I’m delighted for her that she’s starting as she has been such a stalwart part of this group.”

Edinburgh back Flynn 18, can cover outside centre as well as full-back. “She’s unbelievable, ” Easson said. “You wouldn’t think it was an international camp – she floats around and she has an infectious personality.

“She’s just getting on with it and it looks like just another game to her. We’re putting no pressure on her and we’re excited to have her involved.”

Scotland (v France at Hive Stadium, Saturday 2.15pm):  M Smith; R Lloyd, E Orr, L Thomson, C Grant; H Nelson, C Mattinson; L Bartlett, E Martin, C Belisle, E Wassell, L McMillan, R Malcolm (captain), A Stewart, E Gallagher. Replacements: M Wright, L Cockburn, E Clarke, F McIntosh, E Donaldson, M McDonald, N Flynn, C Rollie.

About Stuart Bathgate 1387 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.

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