Women’s 6N: “We won’t feel sorry for ourselves – focus has already shifted to Italy,” says Skeldon after tough day

Gary Heatly

The Scotland players cannot “feel sorry for themselves” after the defeat to England on Saturday and must refocus quickly with a big game versus Italy coming up, says hooker Lana Skeldon.

A record home crowd of 7,774 was at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh at the weekend to see the Scots take on the world number one side in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations and although the visitors were good, the hosts know they did not perform anywhere near how they can in the 46-0 loss.

England led 17-0 at half-time after three tries and they added five more in the second half to give them a resounding bonus point triumph and stay on track for the Grand Slam.

Nothing went right for Scotland – who have now won one and lost two in the tournament – on the day, but all thoughts now shift to this coming Saturday and round four in Parma versus the Italians.

“If we focus on the negatives we are never going to get anywhere so for me I don’t want everyone to feel sorry for themselves,” 30-year-old Skeldon said.

“We have taken lessons from playing England and France, two of the best sides in the world, recently and now it is about putting the pieces of the puzzle together and finding a complete performance against Italy.

“The focus has already shifted to Italy – we need to take the good parts from the England game and the other two we have played and add to them and show people what we are all about.”

Skeldon admits it was amazing to play in front of such a big crowd.

“When I first started playing for Scotland there was about 200 people, if that, in the stands so the crowd was incredible,” the Bristol Bears player with 68 international caps stated.

“The noise and the anthem blew me away and the crowd brought so much energy to the team and it just shows how things are growing, how many people are behind us and it is incredible to be making this history with the team.”

She also paid tribute to Saracens second-row Fi McIntosh who was brought in to start as a late replacement for Emma Wassell and became cap number 237.

“Fi is fantastic around the group, she really epitomises ‘team first’ and what our team values are,” Skeldon said of her new pack mate.

“She has prepared us for so many games which is why we were able to go out to WXV 2 and win then do well versus Wales and she just always turns up with a smile on her face.

“She is great around the team and around camp and she did really well, that is a toughie to come into for your first cap and she was fantastic and I am just so happy for her that she now has that first cap as she deserves it.”

Saturday’s match got underway with torrential rain falling and it took seven minutes for England to take the lead, hooker Amy Cokayne going over for an unconverted try.

They were playing a quick, offloading game and good hands saw winger Abby Dow bag try number two in the 11th minute.

In very windy conditions, Scotland were struggling to get out of their own half and in the 24th minute England nearly scored try number three, but the score was ruled out for a knock on in the build up by centre Meg Jones.

There was then a flashpoint five minutes later, England tighthead prop Maud Muir thought she had scored, but the referee conferred with the TMO and yellow carded Cokayne for a dangerous clear out on No.8 Evie Gallagher.

That try was disallowed, but England’s third try did come in the 34th minute when full-back Ellie Kildunne went in under the posts. Stand-off Holly Aitchison converted and it was 17-0 at half-time.

The bonus point fourth try came for England just three minutes into the second period, back-row Sadia Kabeya with the converted effort.

Try number five came in the 51st minute through winger Jess Breach and it was 29-0 before, three minutes later, Cokayne was given a second yellow card for a shoulder to head tackle on Skeldon and, as such, was sent off.

With 14 players England continued to dominate as Breach, player of the match Kildunne and replacement Marlie Packer scored further tries with one converted to make it 46-0.

•       In the women’s National Bowl final on the Murrayfield back pitches Marr defeated Dalkeith 36-29 to lift the silverware.

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

Thanks to N50 Photography for the image of Lana Skeldon against England

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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