Women’s 6N Summer Series: nine changes in Scotland U20 team to face France

Three key players are rested after being injured in last week's loss to hosts Italy

Rhea Clarke in action for Glasgow in the Celtic Challenge. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND Under-20s coach Claire Cruikshank has changed more than half her team for tomorrow’s match against France in the Women’s Six Nations Summer Series.

Three players – Leia Brebner-Holden, Merry Gunderson and Nicole Flynn – are rested after having been injured in last week’s narrow defeat by Italy.

The others are rotated in the light of a busy schedule that will see the side play three Tests in 11 days at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma.

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“Our match against Italy was a positive starting point for us as a group and overall we’re pleased with how we played, but we know there are some things to fix,” Cruikshank said of the 17-13 loss to the hosts.

“We have seen from their performance against Wales that France are a very strong side, so this will be a big test for us. But with that challenge comes an exciting opportunity to make changes both with personnel and positions and I’m looking forward to seeing some debuts and some new partnerships.

“Leia Brebner-Holden, Merryn Gunderson and Nicole Flynn are all rested after picking up injury on Thursday. Our medical team are taking great care of them and we hope they will be fit for our final match later in the week.”

That final match is against Ireland on Sunday morning, and on paper offers a more realistic chance of a win than tomorrow’s encounter with a French team who are recognised as one of the best – if not the best – age-group sides in the world.

Cruikshank’s changes to the starting line-up to face the French begin at full-back, where Izzy McGuire-Evans comes in, with Lucia Scott moving from 15 to outside centre to fill the gap left by Flynn. There is also a new partnership at half-back, where stand-off Hannah Ramsay and scrum-half Rhea Clarke replace Ceitidh Ainsworth and Brebner-Holden respectively.

Chloe Brown, Karis Craig and Molly Poolman form a new front row, replacing co-captain Poppy Fletcher, Aila Ronald and Eilidh Fleming, all of whom, like Ainsworth, drop to the bench. Lock Holland Bogan also moves from the starting line-up to the bench and is replaced by Ellie Williamson.

And in the back row, Gemma Bell takes over from Gunderson at blindside, while Samaanther Taganekurukuru starts at openside instead of Lauryn Walter, who is now No 20. Rebekah Douglas and Ami Conchie complete the replacements.

Scotland Under-20s (v France Under-20s at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Tuesday 5.30pm BST): I McGuire-Evans (Sale/Glasgow); S Phimister (Stirling County/Glasgow), L Scott ((Hartpury Uni/Gloucester Hartpury), L MacRae (Edinburgh Uni/Glasgow), H Walker (Edinburgh Uni/Edinburgh, co-captain); H Ramsay (Edinburgh), R Clarke (Edinburgh Uni/Glasgow); C Brown (Stirling County/Glasgow), K Craig (Watsonians/Glasgow), M Poolman (Watsonians/Edinburgh), E Williamson (West of Scotland/Glasgow), N Logan (Edinburgh Uni/Edinburgh), G Bell (Hartpury Uni/Gloucester Hartpury/Edinburgh), S Taganekurukuru (Stirling County/Edinburgh), M Hyland (Garioch/Glasgow).

Replacements: A Ronald (Edinburgh Uni/Edinburgh), P Fletcher (Edinburgh Uni/Edinburgh), E Fleming (Stirling County/Glasgow), H Bogan (Stirling County/Glasgow), L Walter (Brunel Uni/Ealing), R Douglas (Corstorphine Cougars/Glasgow), C Ainsworth (Stirling County/Glasgow), A Conchie (Watsonians/Edinburgh).

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.

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