Women’s 6N: France result must be parked quickly as Scots look to find energy boost for crucial Italy contest

Gary Heatly

Scotland’s preparation for Saturday’s match versus Italy will begin in earnest on Tuesday as the squad try to refocus ahead of the first of two crucial home games in the next week and a half.

Sunday’s 55-0 thumping against France in Vannes means that Scotland are bottom of the TikTok Women’s Six Nations table after three rounds and three defeats.

The schedule at the back end of this tournament is gruelling for all the teams with three Tests in three weekends and Scotland only returned from France battered and bruised on Monday.

They have to refocus quickly though because they now have two home games, starting with Italy this Saturday and then Ireland on April 29, to turn around a 12 game losing streak and build some confidence ahead of the WXV event beginning later this year.

“For the first 35 minutes I thought we played well, challenged France and we were in the game with the third best team in the world,” head coach Bryan Easson said post-France.

“We are disappointed, don’t get me wrong. I’m sitting here looking at how we have played and we are disappointed, but we as a group are going to continue to look at the positives. We will also look at the things we can work on to get us in the right place for the Italy game.

“Professionalism doesn’t take a hold overnight, we are showing progress and we are happy with some of the progress. Look, we want to win games, but to compare us against England and France, I don’t think we can yet.

“We will be working really hard over the next few days, not necessarily on the training field because three games on the bounce for a country the size of Scotland is a tough shift.”

“These two games coming up [versus Italy and Ireland at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh] will give much more of a barometer in terms of where we are at,” skipper Rachel Malcolm said.

“Italy are playing really well, they play some exciting stuff in attack, so I think our defence will absolutely have to be better to compete with them on Saturday, but we can’t wait to get back to playing at home.

“It is a tough ask with a six-day turnaround including travel, so we could use all the help we can get from our fans.

“The crowd were fantastic when we played Wales and they made a massive difference in terms of our energy, so hopefully they’ll get behind us again in numbers this week.

“Non-negotiables in the next two games are getting points on the board [in the matches and in the table], we were extremely disappointed not to score any at all against France.

“Our attack has been improving, but our skills let us down against France and we will look this week at why that happened.

“We need to be scoring points to compete and our work rate off the ball when in possession needs to get better.”

After the game in France, the head coach reported that winger Fran McGhie “went over on her ankle early in the game”, but that it “doesn’t look overly serious”.

Emma Orr, the centre, suffered a potential head knock which saw the game stopped for a long period. She was “up and about” soon after the match and travelled back to Scotland with the squad on Monday, but is definitely out of the Italy game.

GB Sevens player Lisa Thomson is set to be staying with the squad to take on Italy and Rhona Lloyd has joined up too.

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

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

The main image shows Caity Mattinson in action versus France from the Scottish Rugby Twitter feed