U20 6N WSS: This is a chance for players to “put themselves in the conversation ahead of WXV 2”, says Cruikshank

Gary Heatly

During the Guinness Women’s Six Nations young back-rower Alex Stewart made the breakthrough and started all five of Scotland’s matches – and her contemporaries are being urged to use July’s under-20 Six Nations Women’s Summer Series to push on and reach that level too.

There is a massive period coming up for the national team with WXV 2 in South Africa later this year followed by a Six Nations and then a Rugby World Cup in England both in 2025 so head coach Bryan Easson will be looking at an ever-widening talent pool to help him through that spell.

As a result, the Summer Series in Parma, Italy, is the perfect opportunity for a 30-strong under-20 squad, including five overage players, to give Easson some positive headaches.

Claire Cruikshank, the under-20s head coach, said:  “We feel this is a really competitive squad with some good talent in it.

“I think the gap between this group and the senior Scotland squad is closing and I want the players to go out there, put in strong showings and put themselves in the conversation ahead of WXV 2.

“A number of these players have already been exposed to the wider Scotland training group while a lot of these players were involved in the Celtic Challenge with Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors and you can see how they have grown in confidence heading into this event.

“Now I want them to come together as a group and show a wider audience what they are all about – I am looking forward to the tournament.”

Running from July 4-14, this inaugural development competition will feature all Six Nations teams and will include three competitive match days designed to offer a new opportunity for international rugby experience.

Scotland play Italy on July 4 at 8pm UK time, France on July 9 at 5.30pm and Ireland on July 14 at 9am.

Loosehead prop Poppy Fletcher and back three player Hannah Walker are the tour co-captains while Natasha Logan, Ellie Williamson, Rhea Clarke, Leia Brebner-Holden and Nicole Marlow are the five overage players and any three can be in a matchday squad at the same time.

Cruikshank, who is being assisted by Stuart Corsar and Chris Laidlaw for the matches at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, added:  “This competition is a great chance to test ourselves against international opposition at this age and stage of players’ development.

“The beauty of this competition is we will have to adapt very quickly, there’s not much turnaround between games, but that’s another good experience for us. We’re super excited to expose ourselves to this level of rugby.

The players will learn things that can take them through their international careers. Adding this under-20s bracket is the next step for the women’s game, t’s always something that’s been missing. We’ve had the under-18 Six Nations for a few years now, then there’s a bit of a gap going into the senior team. The Celtic Challenge has helped fill that void for some of the players involved in this programme, but from an age-grade and national perspective, 20s is a really key development part.

“This is a great opportunity for everybody.”

The Scottish fixtures will be available to watch via scottishrugby.org, with all remaining matches available on the Six Nations Rugby YouTube channels.

Scotland squad


Aila Ronald (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby)

Chloe Brown (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Ellie Williamson (West of Scotland/Glasgow Warriors)

Eilidh Fleming (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Gemma Bell (Hartpury University/Gloucester Hartpury/Edinburgh Rugby)

Holland Bogan (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Karis Craig (Watsonian FC/Glasgow Warriors)

Lauryn Walter (Brunel University/Ealing Trailfinders)

Lucy Christie (Newcastle University)

Merryn Gunderson (Corstorphine Cougars/Edinburgh Rugby)

Megan Hyland (Garioch/Glasgow Warriors)

Molly Poolman (Watsonian FC/Edinburgh Rugby)

Natasha Logan (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby)

Poppy Fletcher (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby)

Poppy Clarkson (Biggar)

Samaanther Taganekurukuru (Stirling County/Edinburgh Rugby)

Talei Tawake (Watsonian FC)


Ami Conchie (Watsonian FC/Edinburgh Rugby)

Ceitidh Ainsworth (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Hannah Walker (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby)

Hannah Ramsay (Unattached/Edinburgh Rugby)

Isobel McGuire-Evans (Sale Sharks/Glasgow Warriors)

Leia Brebner-Holden (Gloucester Hartpury/Edinburgh Rugby)

Lucia Scott (Hartpury University/Gloucester Hartpury)

Lucy MacRae (University of Edinburgh/Glasgow Warriors)

Nicole Marlow (Cardiff Metropolitan University/Edinburgh Rugby)

Nicole Flynn (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby)

Rebekah Douglas (Corstorphine Cougars/Glasgow Warriors)

Rhea Clarke (University of Edinburgh/Glasgow Warriors)

Sky Phimister (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

Scotland tour co-captain Hannah Walker and head coach Claire Cruikshank are pictured, thanks to Six Nations Rugby for the image

During the under-20 Six Nations Women’s Summer Series period through July, GH Media will be covering all aspects of the tournament…

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