Women’s 6N: McCormack insists there is more to come from Scotland

Italy are now up to seventh in the world rankings, ahead of both Wales and Scotland

Scotland lock Deborah McCormack.
Scotland lock Deborah McCormack. Image: ©INPHO/Craig Watson.

THERE is no way that Scotland will be content with just one away win in this year’s Six Nations, according to Deborah McCormack, even if it was a historic one.

The 15-12 victory in Ireland last week was the team’s first on the road in the Championship in a dozen years, and will long be remembered for Chloe Rollie’s length-of-the-field try in the second half. Harlequins forward McCormack knows it is going to be tough against Italy in Padua this afternoon, yet believes that win in Dublin was the product of much improved mental toughness – a quality which she thinks can help her team to back-to-back victories if they can raise their game again

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“We’re ever improving in terms of fitness and stuff, but I don’t think that was the main contributor against Ireland,” said McCormack, whose second-row partnership with Emma Wassell has become one of the most reliable departments of Shade Munro’s side.

“It’s just more the fact that we’ve got more belief in ourselves and that mental resilience to fight it out right to the end and not let our heads drop. We stick in there and have that grit and keep fighting to the very end – which maybe in the past we might have slipped on.

“We’re never satisfied with just being OK: we’re always striving for better. We’re going to want to win whether it’s home or away, but obviously getting the monkey off the backs with that away win last week helps relieve a bit of pressure. We’re targeting that win against Italy as well.

“We’re under no illusions, it’s going to be a really tough game. We’re not going there complacent just because we’ve had a win. They had a really good win against Wales – I don’t think anybody was expecting that.”

The Italian’s bossing it

Italy are now up to seventh in the world rankings, ahead of both Wales and Scotland, and McCormack expects them to be full of confidence. But, with players such as Rollie in her team, the lock knows that the ability to launch swift counter-attacks could be the key for the Scots.

“They’re a dangerous team, and they’re a good team,” she added. “They’ve got some dangerous backs, very fast, so we’ll have to try and shut them down and use our defence to try and turn their attacks into an opportunity for us. But it’s going to be hard, hard work.”

While the squad as a whole is very much a work in progress and some individuals within it have little experience at international level, McCormack and Wassell have become a strong double act in the second row. “Since I started with Scotland we’ve pretty much started all our games together, and it’s grown into a great partnership,” McCormack added.

“We’re really good pals.  I would say we’re like sisters – sometimes she can be the annoying little sister who makes a lot of noise, but it’s all good. We know we have each other’s backs and know each other’s strength.”

Today’s match, which kicks off at 2pm British time (3pm in Italy), is the last in this year’s Six Nations. A bonus point win for either Scotland or Italy would take them level on 10 points with third-placed Ireland, who have a significantly better points differential.

Italy will go bottom, below Wales, if they lose by more than 18 points, but Scotland would have to lose by more than 60 if they were to suffer that fate. France are champions, having wrapped up the Grand Slam on Friday night with a 38-3 win over Wales in Colwyn Bay.

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About Stuart Bathgate 1438 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.