SCOTLAND coach Bryan Easson has named a squad of 36 for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations that includes seven uncapped players. Easson has also recruited Chris Laidlaw to his coaching team for the Championship, adding the attack specialist to a line-up that also contains forwards coach Martin Haag and defence coach Tyrone Holmes.
Of the players yet to make their debuts, five – Rhea Clarke, Erinn Foley, Fran McGhie, Holly McIntyre and Emma Turner – have been promoted from the Thistles squad after impressing during the recent Celtic Challenge competition. The other two are former Scotland Under-20s captain Fiona Cooper of Wasps and Saracens back Beth Blacklock.
The group of 21 forwards and 15 backs includes both Sarah Bonar and Jade Konkel-Roberts, who are both currently recovering from injury but are expected to be available at some point in the tournament. Molly Wright and Jenny Maxwell are the only players listed as unavailable because of injury.
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Rachel Malcolm and Helen Nelson have been confirmed as captain and vice-captain respectively. Megan Gaffney and Hannah Smith have both retired from the international game since last year’s Rugby World Cup, while the availability of Shona Campbell, Rhona Lloyd and Lisa Thomson will depend on their commitments with the GB Sevens squad to which they are contracted.
Scotland begin their Six Nations campaign with a game against England at Kingston Park, Newcastle on Saturday 25 March. They have a home game against Wales a week later, then visit France on Sunday 16 April before home matches against Italy and Ireland respectively on Saturday 22 and 29 April. All three home games are at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh.
The team lost all five matches in last year’s Championship and are currently on a run of nine games without a win, but Easson hopes that the advent of fully professional contracts for the bulk of the squad will help increase standards. “We are entering a fresh, exciting period for the Scotland Women programme, with professional contracts in place, new faces to the squad and management team and a new Rugby World Cup cycle beginning,” he said in an SRU press release.
“It was fantastic to get the Celtic Challenge competition underway back in January and a number of younger players have rightfully earned their spot in the squad after some impressive performances across the four games. We have a good mix of experienced and younger players, so will be exciting to see what the group are capable of over the coming weeks.”
Laidlaw was the Thistles’ assistant coach and previously coached in the FOSROC Edinburgh Academy. He said: “I’m massively excited about having the opportunity to join the Scotland Women programme for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, working with Bryan, Tyrone and Martin as a coaching group.
“I feel really energised about putting my imprint on the team, inspiring them to express themselves on the pitch and to ultimately help them put in the best performances possible.”
Scotland squad for TikTok Women’s Six Nations:
Forwards: Leah Bartlett, Christine Belisle (both Loughborough Lightning), Sarah Bonar (Harlequins), Elliann Clarke (University of Edinburgh), Lisa Cockburn (University of Worcester Warriors), Fiona Cooper (Wasps), Eva Donaldson (University of Edinburgh), Erinn Foley (Hillhead Jordanhill), Evie Gallagher (University of Worcester Warriors), Jade Konkel-Roberts (Harlequins), Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning, captain), Elis Martin (DMP Sharks), Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks), Louise McMillan (Saracens), Panashe Muzambe (Exeter Chiefs), Lyndsay O’Donnell (Bristol Bears), Lana Skeldon (University of Worcester Warriors), Emma Turner (Corstorphine Cougars), Jodie Rettie (Saracens), Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning), Anne Young (Sale Sharks).
Backs: Beth Blacklock (Harlequins), Rhea Clarke (University of Edinburgh), Coreen Grant (Saracens), Sarah Law (Sale Sharks), Caity Mattinson (University of Worcester Warriors), Mairi McDonald (Exeter Chiefs), Francesca McGhie (Watsonians), Holly McIntyre (University of Edinburgh), Liz Musgrove (Wasps), Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning, vice-captain), Emma Orr (Heriot’s / Biggar), Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning), Eilidh Sinclair (Exeter Chiefs), Meryl Smith (University of Edinburgh), Evie Wills (Hillhead Jordanhill).
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