WXV2: Two changes to Scotland side for South Africa match

Emma Wassell and Lisa Thomson return at lock and centre respectively for opening game of new tournament in Stellenbosch

Emma Wassell
Emma Wassell is back in Scotland's starting line-up to face South Africa. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

EXPERIENCED duo Emma Wassell and Lisa Thomson are both back in Scotland’s starting line-up for Friday’s opening WXV2 game against South Africa – but Jade Konkel has to make do with a place on the bench. 

Lock forward Wassell and centre Thomson both came off the bench in the team’s recent 36-5 win over Spain, and are the only changes to the starting line-up from that match. They replace Louise McMillan and Meryl Smith, both of whom drop to the bench, while lock Eva Donaldson drops out of the 23.

Konkel has been making her way back from a syndesmosis injury and sat out the Spain game. Coreen Grant, another absentee from that match, has yet to be passed fit after breaking a finger in training last month.

“Lisa and Emma are two influential players that we know are bringing a bit of experience,” head coach Bryan Easson said. “Both have over 50 caps, and especially when you’re playing a country like South Africa in South Africa you need players who understand what that feels like.

“We were out here in 2019 and played two Tests against them, so we know what to expect. They’re a physical side; they’re very abrasive. Lisa and Emma are both physical players.”

South Africa coach Louis Koen has been able to welcome back four experienced players from injury. Scrum-half Tayla Kinsey, No 8 Aseza Hele, hooker Lindelwa Gwala and loosehead prop Sanelisiwe Charlie all missed the recent warm-up games against Kenya and Samoa.

“The four returnees bring valuable experience and also come in fresh after working hard to get back to match fitness,” he said, adding that he expects the visitors to provide “a real challenge” for his team.

“They are improving with rapid strides and had some great wins in the Six Nations earlier in the year. They play with a lot of pace, they have a good kicking game and are well coached and organised, so this is going to be a real challenge for us.  

“We will be tested, but that is what we need. We want these games and more of them to improve and build towards our goal to become a top-five side in the world. This will be a perfect opportunity to see where we are in our growth and progress.”

The Springboks are 12th in the current World Rugby rankings, three places below Scotland.

Scotland (v South Africa at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, Friday 3.30pm UK time): C Rollie; R Lloyd, E Orr, L Thomson, F McGhie; H Nelson, M McDonald; A Bartlett, L Skeldon, C Belisle, E Wassell, S Bonar, R Malcolm (captain), R McLachlan, E Gallagher. Replacements: E Martin, A Young, L Cockburn, L McMillan, J Konkel, C Mattinson, M Smith, E Musgrove.

South Africa: C Qawe; M Samboya, V Grain, P Nyanda, S Hess; L Janse van Rensburg, T Kinsey; S Charlie, L Gwala, B Latsha (captain), V Ubisi. D Lochner, L Dumke, S Mcatshulwa, A Hele. Replacements: R Botes, Y Ngxingolo, A Schonert, M Booi, C Jacobs. M Gunter, R Potgieter, M Zulu.

About Stuart Bathgate 1412 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.