SCOTLAND coach Shade Munro believes his team could get the better of Ireland on Friday provided they continue the improvement they showed last week against the Italians. Munro has made one change to his team for the Six Nations match at Scotstoun, bringing back Debs McCormack at lock and moving Sarah Bonar from the second row to No 8 as a replacement for Siobhan Cattigan, who could miss the rest of the Championship with a foot injury.
Otherwise, the squad is the same as the one that was on duty for the 28-7 loss to Italy. While aspects of that defeat were disappointing, the coach was encouraged by the improved performance of the scrum, and thinks if his backs make better use of possession they could get the upper hand.
“Our set piece is getting better,” he said after naming his squad. “Certainly our scrums are, and against Italy they were much better and we were relatively consistent.
“Our backs may have the edge if we use them correctly. Against Italy our game management wasn’t the best and we can’t just expect things to happen. We didn’t vary the game and we ran out of steam.”
Scotland beat Ireland 15-12 in Donnybrook last year – their first away win in the Six Nations in a dozen years – but lost 22-15 to a last-minute score at Broadwood in 2017. Munro expects another close contest, and believes that the Irish are still smarting from that loss in Dublin last March.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve narrowed the gap a bit, because previously they were much stronger,” he said after announcing his team. “I think we’re pretty much on a level playing field. Given we beat them over there, I think they’ll be really motivated to do the same thing to us over here. We certainly got the impression when we went over there for a pre-season game that they were a bit upset about having lost to us, because we made a big play of the fact it was our first away victory.
“So they won’t have liked that at all – which is good. That’s what you want. You want people to get annoyed.
“They have a new coaching group and they’ve had a transition of players in and out, but they are getting better. They’ve got a good set piece: a good scrum, a good lineout drive, and that’s how they like to play the game.”
Ireland lost 51-7 at home to England in their first outing of this year’s Championship.
Scotland (v Ireland at Scotstoun, Friday, 7.35pm): Chloe Rollie (Lille); Liz Musgrove (Hong Kong), Hannah Smith (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Lisa Thomson (Darlington, captain), Annabel Sergeant (Heriot’s); Helen Nelson (Montpellier), Mhairi Grieve (Firwood Waterloo); Lisa Cockburn (Darlington), Lana Skeldon (Watsonians), Megan Kennedy (Stirling County), Emma Wassell (Heriot’s), Debs McCormack (Harlequins), Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough), Rachel McLachlan (Stirling County), Sarah Bonar (Loughborough). Substitutes: Jodie Rettie (Saracens), Katie Dougan (Gloucester Hartpury), Mairi Forsyth (Stirling County), Sophie Anderson (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Nicola Howat (Edinburgh University), Sarah Law (Edinburgh University), Lisa Martin (Lille), Rhona Lloyd (Loughborough).