SCOTLAND coach Philip Doyle has selected four uncapped players in his squad for the Autumn Tests against Wales this Sunday and Japan a week later, and named Rachel Malcolm as captain for the two Scotstoun fixtures.
Edinburgh University players Sarah Denholm and Evie Gallagher, Evie Tonkin of Darlington Mowden Park and Alex Wallace of Harrogate are the four potential debutants in the squad of 25, which is made up of 13 forwards and a dozen backs. Besides Malcolm, other established names in the squad are Helen Nelson, who is vice-captain, Lisa Thomson, Jade Konkel and Chloe Rollie.
Hannah Smith, who played at openside for Watsonians at the weekend – a position she has also previously occupied for the national team – has been selected as a back. Sarah Law, Liz Musgrove and Lana Skeldon all miss out because of injury.
“We had a fantastic start to the season in South Africa against a very physical team,” Doyle said, referring to his first matches in charge of the team earlier this season. “I was proud of the squad’s performance when we came away with two away wins.
“Whilst it was two very positive performances, we still had a lot to work on ahead of these upcoming Tests. A training weekend earlier this month allowed us to train together again and also introduce some new players.
“Rachel Malcolm really impressed me in South Africa when she stepped into the on-field captaincy. I believe that she has the leadership needed for this team in this crucial season, supported by Helen Nelson.
“We are using these Tests to bring a couple of new faces into the squad to expand our depth ahead of the Six Nations. I am looking forward to seeing how this blend of new and experienced players front up against Wales and Japan.”
Denholm, a stand-off who has played for the national Sevens team, travelled with the squad on the two-Test visit to South Africa to get a taste of preparation for an international. She and Gallagher, who is also a Sevens cap, have come through the Scotland Futures programme. Tonkin and Wallace, meanwhile, have come from the Scotland-qualified programme.
Scotland squad (v Wales and Japan, Sun 17 and Sun 24 at Scotstoun): Backs: Sarah Denholm (Edinburgh University), Abi Evans (Darlington Mowden Park), Megan Gaffney (Watsonians), Mhairi Grieve (Waterloo Firwood), Rhona Lloyd, Jenny Maxwell, Helen Nelson (all Loughborough Lightning), Chloe Rollie (Harlequins), Hannah Smith (Watsonians), Lisa Thomson, Evie Tonkin (both Darlington Mowden Park), Alex Wallace (Harrogate RFC). Forwards: Christine Belisle (Cartha Queen’s Park), Sarah Bonar (Loughborough Lightning), Lisa Cockburn (Darlington Mowden Park), Mairi Forsyth (Corstorphine Cougars), Evie Gallagher (Edinburgh University), Megan Kennedy (Stirling County RFC), Jade Konkel (Harlequins), Rachel Malcolm (captain, Loughborough Lightning),
Rachel McLachlan (Darlington Mowden Park), Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Panashe Muzambe (Edinburgh Univ/Watsonians), Jodie Rettie (Saracens), Emma Wassell (Corstorphine Cougars).