Women’s 6N: Wright and Donaldson backed to bring “real edge” and “real energy” to the party versus Italy

Gary Heatly

Molly Wright and Eva Donaldson have been backed to bring “real edge” and “real energy” to proceedings respectively having been brought into the Scotland team pack to take on Italy on Saturday.

That is the view of head coach Bryan Easson who has made four changes to the starting XV that lost to England 46-0 last time out ahead of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations round four clash in Parma.

As well as loosehead prop Wright and second-row Donaldson, centre Lisa Thomson and winger Francesca McGhie come in with Leah Bartlett, Fi McIntosh, Meryl Smith and Coreen Grant dropping to the bench.

Only six of Wright’s 21 caps have been starts prior to this, but Easson is backing the 32-year-old New Zealand born front-rower to make an impact.

“Molly gives us some real edge and some defensive and ball carrying dominance,” Easson said about the Sale Sharks player.

“Looking at this game, I think it was a really important thing for us to do [bring her in] and we really want to get into the game nice and early against a side who we know that, if we start well against, we could really squeeze them.

“We felt that it was right for Molly to start, but if you look at the bench Leah Bartlett and Elliann Clarke both scrummage well so as the game goes we’ve got two really good scrummagers along with Elis Martin on the bench that we can really continue to squeeze Italy in that department.”

After nine caps off the bench Donaldson has been handed a first Scotland start versus Italy and she will bring “real energy” to the team.

Stirling County and Edinburgh University product Donaldson, who now plays down south for Leicester Tigers, earned her first cap back in early 2022, but has had to wait until now to start an international.

“I felt that Eva brought some real energy off the bench last week against England and she can bring real energy this weekend too,” Easson said on the 22-year-old’s selection.

“She’s a good lineout option for us and we’ve worked pretty hard on our lineout this week and she and Louise McMillan have worked well in that area.

“She’s always brought us energy, hat’s the one thing you can say about Eva. Around the pitch she’s defensively good, she’ll get on the ball in attack and I think it’s an important change for us to have her starting versus Italy.”

Winger Rhona Lloyd, who has 22 tries in 49 appearances, will earn her 50th cap here.

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 the Scotland pack featuring Molly Wright and Eva Donaldson

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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