Women’s 6N: Close links between former and current players “inspires” Scotland squad, says Bryan Easson

Gary Heatly

Scotland face a very important 80 minutes in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations on Saturday against Italy – and among those cheering them on will be many former internationalists.

Since Scotland played their first ever Test match against Ireland in February 1993 at Raeburn Place, 234 players have worn the thistle.

Last year Graham Law and others at Scottish Rugby put in a great deal of work to update the roll of honour and now everyone that has played has a cap number from Catriona Binnie at number one to Beth Blacklock at number 234.

Since the pandemic time there has also been a lot of work put in by former players, current head coach Bryan Easson and others to strengthen the bond between those who have gone before and the current crop.

That initiative seems to be working really well and for the Italy match at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh a large number of roll of honour members are set to be in attendance with some activities planned throughout the day for them to remember the good times and cheer on the current cohort.

“It is hugely important that there is a link and a closeness between the current generation and those who have played for Scotland before,” Easson explained.

“I started a lot of dialogue with [record cap holder] Donna Kennedy around that and we had probably one of the best days I’ve had while being with the squad just before the World Cup when the former players presented to the current players.

“They presented around just what it meant to them to have played for Scotland and what having gone to a World Cup meant to them.

“Players like Donna, Lee Cockburn, Kim Littlejohn and others were included in that and all of the former players have been brilliant with the current squad.

“Lee Cockburn presented the jerseys before we played Wales and there will be something around that this weekend, too, while for the last couple of games we have been carrying a ball into the stadium.

“The ball that we have got is a ball that was donated by the ex-players and it has been signed and it is from game one [back in 1993] when Scotland played Ireland.

“That is something that is really exciting for our players, these sorts of things are so important, it inspires them.”

The game kicks-off at 4.45pm and is live on BBC Scotland and BBC iPlayer.

Scotland: Chloe Rollie; Coreen Grant, Lisa Thomson, Meryl Smith, Francesca McGhie; Helen Nelson, Mairi McDonald; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Jade Konkel-Roberts, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (C), Rachel McLachlan, Evie Gallagher. Subs: Jodie Rettie, Anne Young, Elliann Clarke, Eva Donaldson, Eilidh Sinclair, Caity Mattinson, Beth Blacklock, Liz Musgrove.

Keep an eye out on GH Media’s channels for comprehensive coverage of all things Scotland throughout the TikTok Women’s Six Nations…

 Thanks to the Scottish Rugby Twitter feed for the images