Six Nations: Wales defeat still stinging, but Scotland “excited” to be heading back to Scotstoun for first time in a year this Sunday

By Gary Heatly

Having been leading 19-7 after 42 minutes on Saturday at Cardiff Arms Park only to lose out 24-19 to Wales in round two of the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, the Scotland squad and management will have had plenty to ponder as they headed back up the road.

It was a case of ‘what might have been’ and the group are still searching for the clinical edge needed to close out close games.

A losing bonus point was all they ended up with and they are still winless in the competition, but given that, at some point last week, 10 of the 36-strong wider squad were out with Covid, other illness or injury, the players put in a great shift and they know that they can win games against the likes of Wales.

Young trio Evie Gallagher, Emma Orr and Shona Campbell showed up well in the game, so once they dust themselves off there is plenty to build on for Bryan Easson’s charges when they welcome France to Scotstoun in round three this coming Sunday.

It will be a big test, of course, as France have 10 points from 10 to date following bonus point triumphs over Italy and Ireland, but the last time France were in Glasgow the Scots grabbed a famous 13-13 draw in a delayed 2020 Six Nations match in the October of that year.

Scotland’s last outing at the Glasgow Warriors’ ground was in April last year when they beat Wales 27-20 in the 2021 Six Nations fifth/sixth place play-off.

Good memories from the ground then and skipper Rachel Malcolm said:  “We are excited to get back to Scotstoun, we have good memories there.

“The DAM Health Stadium [versus England on March 26] was great, one of the best environments I have played in and a phenomenal day, the crowd were unbelievable and gave us a huge lift.

“I now can’t wait to get back out at Scotstoun and hopefully have a similar crowd and a real buzz about the game as well.

“We are confident going into that game. I do genuinely believe that our performances are improving and as players we are improving, the whole squad is improving, there are learnings from this Wales game that we can take into the French week.

“Aspects of our game against Wales, like defence, were much improved from the England game and we will look to improve again going into France.

“France are one of the in-form teams in the world, it’ll be a massive challenge, but we won’t shy away from it.

“We have shown we can compete with France before and the beauty of the Six Nations is that you get the chance to put some things that frustrated you one week right the next week and we can’t wait to get going.”

Head coach Easson adds:  “We spoke at the end of the Wales game about how proud we were of the performance.

“It has been a tough two weeks because you play the best team in the world, you then travel to Wales with injuries etc, but look at the performance we had there, I can’t say anything else about how proud I was.

“It is a game we could have won, should have won, so we will look at the positives and learnings and we will go into France with real confidence that we are improving as a group.”

Scotland return to Scotstoun on Sunday, April 10 when they host France in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations at 1pm – get along and support the team, U12 tickets are only £1 with a paying adult at £15, and U18s go for £5 – details here

The main photo is from Scottish Rugby