Thistles squad for inaugural/pilot Celtic Challenge campaign announced

Claire Cruikshank will be head coach of the side for home and away matches against Welsh Development XV and Irish Combined Provinces XV

Evie Wills and Emma Orr are in the 37-strong squad for the Thistles' inaugural Celtic Challenge campaign. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Evie Wills and Emma Orr are in the 37-strong squad for the Thistles' inaugural Celtic Challenge campaign. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

NEW head coach Claire Cruikshank has today announced a 37-player squad for the Thistles’ inaugural Celtic Challenge campaign.

Cruikshank, who was previously Sweden Women Head Coach and worked with the Scotland Women coaching group last year as part of the Rugby World Cup Coaching Internship programme, will lead the coaching team alongside FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy coach Chris Laidlaw and Performance Coach Stuart Corsar.

The squad comprises of rising talent within the Scottish Futures programme and Tennent’s Premiership, alongside home-based contracted players Elliann Clarke, Emma Orr, Evie Wills and Meryl Smith.


Celtic Challenge to provide high-performance opportunities ahead of TikTok Six Nations

10 takeaways from Gregor Townsend’s Six Nations squad announcement

Premiership Dream Team for weekend of 14th January


“I’m delighted to have been appointed Head Coach of The Thistles in what is a really exciting period for women’s rugby in Scotland,” said Cruikshank.

“It’s fantastic to have a competition that helps to bridge the gap between the domestic and the elite game and I’m looking forward to working with this group of players and seeing what they can achieve over the next month.”

The Thistles will take on the Welsh Development XV side in the competition’s opening fixture this Sunday with 2.30pm kick-off  at Scotstoun Stadium, before travelling to Kingspan Stadium to take on Combined Provinces XV on Saturday 4th February (kick-off 4.30pm). The return fixtures will be at Cardiff Arms Park against the Welsh Development XV a week later (Saturday 11th February, kick-off 4.30pm), and against Combined Provinces XV on Saturday 25th February (kick-off 1.30pm) at DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh.

A Scottish Rugby statement said: “With World Rugby committed to advancing the competitiveness of the elite women’s game, the international federation is financially supporting the Celtic Challenge Pilot in 2023 and continues to be in productive discussions with Scottish Rugby, the IRFU and WRU on a long-term vision for the competition.”

  • To reserve free-of-charge match-day tickets for The Thistles v Welsh Development XV at Scotstoun Stadium on Sunday 22nd January (kick-off 2.30pm), click HERE.
  • To reserve free-of-charge match-day tickets for The Thistles v Combined Provinces XV at DAM Health Stadium on Saturday 25th February: (kick-off 1.30pm), click HERE.

The Thistles squad for the 2023 Celtic Challenge competition

Forwards

  • Aila Ronald (University of Edinburgh)
  • Alex Stewart (University of Edinburgh)
  • Charlotte Boan (Cartha Queens Park)
  • Elliann Clarke (University of Edinburgh)
  • Emma Turner (Corstorphine Cougars)
  • Erinn Foley (Hillhead Jordanhill)
  • Eva Donaldson (University of Edinburgh)
  • Freya Walker (Watsonians)
  • Jess Fyfe (Cartha Queens Park)
  • Katie Lindsey (Stirling County)
  • Kaylee Fraser (Corstorphine Cougars)
  • Kiera McDonald (Stirling County)
  • Kirsty Ritchie (Biggar)
  • Lindsey McDiarmid (Garioch)
  • Molly Poolman (Watsonians)
  • Natasha Logan (University of Edinburgh)=
  • Nikki Simpson (Garioch)
  • Poppy Fletcher (Heriot’s)
  • Eve Thomson (Hillhead Jordanhill)
  • Lucy Kidd (Corstorphine Cougars)
  • Sophie Murray (Stirling County)

Backs

  • Carla McDonald (Hillhead Jordanhill)
  • Ceitidh Ainsworth (Stirling County)
  • Cieron Bell (University of Edinburgh)
  • Emma Orr (Biggar)
  • Evie Wills (Hillhead Jordanhill)
  • Fran McGhie (Watsonians)
  • Hannah Walker (University of Edinburgh)
  • Holly McIntyre (University of Edinburgh)
  • Megan Gaffney (Heriot’s)
  • Meryl Smith (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rachel Law (Watsonians)
  • Rachel Philipps (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rhea Clarke (University of Edinburgh)
  • Roma Fraser (Cartha Queens Park)
  • Sky Phimister (Stirling County)
  • Sarah Denholm (University of Edinburgh)

Celtic Challenge to provide high-performance opportunities ahead of TikTok Six Nations

About David Barnes 3179 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful in your replies. Abusive language is automatically blocked. Your email address will not be published.


*