Women’s 6N: Scotland keen to mark “fiercely proud” team player Rhona Lloyd’s 50th cap with a win

Gary Heatly

It will be a special moment for Rhona Lloyd and her family when the winger earns her 50th Scotland cap on Saturday in Parma against Italy in round four of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

The GB Sevens/Stade Bordelais flyer from Edinburgh came through the youth ranks at Murrayfield Wanderers and made her full debut aged 19 against England in early 2016.

Now 27, she has scored an excellent 22 tries in 49 games and will reach the half century in the important match in the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

“I don’t think anyone can compete with Rhona’s passion and her drive to play for Scotland,” captain Rachel Malcolm said about her team mate.

“She’s one of the most fiercely proud humans I’ve ever met and what she has achieved in terms of tries scored and games played at such a young age is phenomenal.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her come anything but first in a fitness test for the entirety of my Scotland career. She trains how she plays, she plays with her heart on her sleeve, and I’m super proud to have her on my team. I’ve no doubt that she will get on that ball and create some magic here.”

Head coach Bryan Easson added:  “It’s a really important day for Rhona more than anybody. She epitomises this team, her energy, both on and off the pitch, is second to none.

“Her work rate on the pitch is phenomenal, but so is her work rate off the pitch, her detail around everything that she does is excellent and she is all about togetherness, she pulls this group together.

“The key thing for her as a winger is scoring tries and 22 tries in 49 caps is a great strike rate and we’re hoping for another one on her 50th cap.

“She’s a finisher, whether it be from two metres out or from 80, she’s got that real edge.

“I’m delighted for Rhona. She deserves everything that she gets and it’s a big weekend for her.”

Scotland feeling “super sharp”

Skipper Malcolm believes her squad are feeling “super sharp” ahead of the “massive” match.

The Scots, seventh in the world, are taking on the sixth placed Italians with lots on the line.

Both sides are in a battle with Ireland and Wales to finish third in the table behind likely top two England and France come April 27 and earn a WXV 1 spot and a Rugby World Cup 2025 place.

Scotland are currently fifth in the standings after one win and two losses while Italy are fourth with a similar record.

It is set to be quite a battle as Scotland look to bounce back from a poor performance versus England and win away in Italy for the first time since 1999.

“You can talk about fuel and getting fuel from defeats like last week, but I think the one thing this group never needs to worry about is the motivation to play with the thistle on our chests,” back-row Malcolm said.

“Regardless of the performance and the result last week I think we would have had the exact same attitude going into a massive game against Italy.

“The England game [46-0] gave us focus points and things to work on. We now have two of our most important games of the championship coming up with this one followed by Ireland and we have worked hard in training this week and built things up really nicely.

“The key word for us this week has been execution and the captain’s run on Friday was super sharp and everyone is feeling good.

“We are now ready to grasp the opportunity that we have this weekend and we want to put in a performance that the fans can be proud of.

“Italy are a dangerous side with a number of threats, so we will have to earn the right to go wide and be patient.”

The match kicks off at 4.45pm UK time and will be live via BBC Sport.

Scotland: Chloe Rollie; Rhona Lloyd, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Francesca McGhie; Helen Nelson, Caity Mattinson; Molly Wright, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Eva Donaldson, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (C), Alex Stewart, Evie Gallagher. Subs: Elis Martin, Leah Bartlett, Elliann Clarke, Fiona McIntosh, Rachel McLachan, Mairi McDonald, Meryl Smith, Coreen Grant.

Thanks to N50 Photography for the image of Rhona Lloyd

During the Guinness Women’s Six Nations period through to the end of April, GH Media will be covering all aspects of women’s rugby in Scotland via reports, features and interviews…

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