Women’s 6N: Record crowd can help Scotland get desired result as “it really is like having another person on the pitch”

Gary Heatly

Under Saturday night lights at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh a record home TikTok Women’s Six Nations crowd of over 4,000 will cheer on Scotland.

Rachel Malcolm’s charges are looking to make it two wins on the spin and end the tournament on a high against a winless Ireland side who will battle for everything.

In tight games, supporters can play their part and the Scotland squad are hoping that the fans can help them and that they, in turn, can give them something to smile about.

The result will have implications on where Scotland finish in the table, whether their world ranking changes and what tier of WXV – World Rugby’s new competition – they will be placed in later this year.

“I said it in my post-match interview after the win against Italy last week that the noise of the crowd was incredible, any time we got a bit of ‘go forward’ or someone got on the ball you could hear them behind you and it really is like having another person on the pitch,” second-row Jade Konkel-Roberts said this week.

“When you are knackered, you are tired, it is a high pressure situation and you hear the crowd singing or making a roar it lifts you and you find an extra five percent of energy because you want to do another good thing to make it even louder.

“We don’t just want people to fill seats, it really matters to us that people support us in these numbers and it makes a difference. We want to make the supporters proud, so we want to come out and put on a show for them. We want them to be part of the best atmosphere and have had the best day.”

Back-row Rachel McLachlan grew up in the capital and, a few days ago before the 4,000 barrier was broken, she said it would mean the world to her to play in front of a record Six Nations crowd.

“Last week [when 3,638 saw them beat Italy] was incredibly overwhelming in all the best ways,” she said.

“After the game all the young fans and older fans were there and we spent about 30 to 40 minutes outside signing things and taking photos.

“That was cool to see and it was like we had a 16th player on the pitch, especially when the crowd got behind us in moments when we had momentum, it does so much for the team.

“Saturday could be a really, really special day.”

“It is exciting,” head coach Bryan Easson said about the crowd numbers.

“The crowd last week was exceptional, there was a great noise and a great family atmosphere and I know the players really enjoyed it.

“They talk about the energy of walking up the tunnel to the pitch and back that way to the changing rooms and the support they get there.

“Walking through there pre-game onto the pitch gives them a real buzz while I know that post-game they love spending time with the supporters there signing autographs, talking selfies and literally given them the kit off their backs!

“The energy that the crowd brings, it is like a 16th player for us and it is great motivation for us knowing that there will be a record crowd there on Saturday cheering us on.”

As Scotland look to secure two wins in a Six Nations campaign for the first time since 2017, Easson has made just one change to the side that got the bonus point triumph over Italy 29-21.

Lisa Thomson is back with GB Sevens, so 20-year-old Emma Orr returns in the 13 jersey having recovered from a concussion that occurred in the France game nearly two weeks ago.

“We knew Lisa would only be available for France and Wales, so it is timely to have Emma back,” Easson said.

The Scotland-Ireland match is at 7.30pm and is live on BBC Scotland and iPlayer.

It is fourth versus sixth while at 1pm first plays second as England play France in the Grand Slam decider at Twickenham in front of a world record 53,000 plus crowd.

And at 3.30pm UK time fifth place Italy plays third placed Wales.

Scotland: Chloe Rollie; Coreen Grant, Emma Orr, 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