Scotland Women announce training squad of 32 for WXV2

Former England winger Matt Banahan joins Bryan Easson's coaching team in place of Chris Laidlaw

Lisa Thomson
Lisa Thomson in action for Scotland in their Six Nations win against Italy. Image: © Craig Watson.

SCOTLAND coach Bryan Easson has named an initial training squad of 32 for October’s WXV tournament, and announced that former England winger Matt Banahan has joined the national set-up as one of his assistant coaches.

The squad of 32 is split equally between forwards and backs, and includes newcomers Holly McIntyre and Nikki Simpson. Four players – Sarah Bonar, Lisa Cockburn, Jenny Maxwell and Emma Wassell – return after lengthy absences caused by injury. Shona Campbell, Rhona Lloyd and Lisa Thomson are also back, having missed some or all of the Six Nations Championship while they were on GB Sevens duty.

Rachel Malcolm and Helen Nelson have been confirmed as captain and vice-captain respectively of the squad, which today [Mon 21] begins a six-week training block that will culminate in the friendly against Spain at the Hive Stadium on Saturday 30 September.

Meanwhile, Banahan, who was capped 16 times between 2009 and 2011 and played most of his club career with Bath, will take over as assistant from Chris Laidlaw, who has opted to concentrate on his duties as Performance Development Coach within Scottish Rugby.  “I’m really excited to join the Scotland Women programme,” the 36-year-old said. 

“I’ve been seeing the growth of the women’s game and from my experience of playing for so many years, along with my coaching experience, I thought there was no better place to pursue my coaching career. I’ve coached in academy programmes and with other teams and I thought this was the perfect progression to pass on knowledge from where my passion stems from.” 

Easson added: “We got to a really good place last season with Chris and I’m really pleased with the way that he developed our attacking game. Chris has since made the decision to give his full focus to his role as Performance Development Coach in the pathway system and we wish him all the best. 

“We wanted to bring in someone [of] the same ilk, who has recently been involved in the game from a playing perspective and has the energy and rugby knowledge to take the players to the next level.”

Scotland Women extended training squad:

Forwards:  Leah Bartlett (Leicester Tigers), Christine Belisle (Loughborough Lightning), Sarah Bonar (Harlequins), Elliann Clarke (Bristol Bears), Lisa Cockburn (University of Worcester Warriors), Eva Donaldson (Leicester Tigers), Evie Gallagher (University of Worcester Warriors), Jade Konkel (Harlequins), Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning, captain), Elis Martin (Leicester Tigers), Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks), Louise McMillan (Saracens), Lana Skeldon (University of Worcester Warriors), Nikki Simpson (Garioch), Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning), Anne Young (Sale Sharks).

Backs: Beth Blacklock (Saracens), Shona Campbell (GB 7s), Coreen Grant (Saracens), Caity Mattinson (University of Worcester Warriors), Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning), Mairi McDonald (Exeter Chiefs), Francesca McGhie (Leicester Tigers), Holly McIntyre (University of Edinburgh), Rhona Lloyd (GB 7s / Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais), Liz Musgrove (Wasps), Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning, vice-captain), Emma Orr (Heriot’s / Biggar), Lisa Thomson (GB 7s), Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning), Eilidh Sinclair (Exeter Chiefs), Meryl Smith (Bristol Bears).

About Stuart Bathgate 1415 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.


  1. It has only just dawned on me there are only 2 Scottish based players in the whole squad. So much for development here in Scotland.

  2. Laidlaw has been absolutely shafted by the SRU and current Women’s head coach who has thrown him to the wolves. It was not that long ago Eassin was praising Laidlaw’s coaching and how well he has fitted in. Again the little English mafia slowly taken over. How long before we have a headline of Banahan having to resign because of personal reasons. The whole thing is a disgrace

  3. Wait S6 isn’t the pipeline for coaches and players to become pros?? Doesn’t need Sherlock Holmes to go back through previous articles to see some people saying the exact opposite of what they say now….the only pipeline S6 is providing is one similar to Thames Water….The mental gymnastics required to keep defending it is clearly exhausting!

  4. Who’d be an ambitious coach in Scotland? No Super Series coaches able to step up and do that job?Sounds like Laidlaw has been pushed as well.

  5. The Scottish coach pipeline working well I see. No harm to Banahan it’s a job after all. But seriously….

    • Are we so insular that we think we shouldn’t have coaches from without the system? If it means our system isn’t working then neither are many other countries, including the much lauded Irish system. 😊.

      • Not at all Iain. Getting coaches from other leagues and countries is a good thing.

        If you are trying to compare Banahan to Andy Farrell you have your work cut out.

        The hyperbole that goes with most things that emanate from Murrayfield is the issue. You of all people can recall how Super 6 was the coach pipeline for Scottish pro rugby? Or is it too early to say?

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