Feature Articles

Women’s 6N: “Mentality and composure” has been key to eight wins in 10 Tests and a fruitful 12 months, says Emma Orr

Gary Heatly

Last Saturday’s win in Italy was Scotland’s eighth in their last 10 matches, keeping am amazing turnaround in fortunes going.

From beating Colombia in the final Rugby World Cup qualifier in Dubai in February 2022, the Scots went 14 months without another triumph.

Then last April things clicked against Italy at Hive Stadium and since then victories have come against Ireland, Spain, South Africa, USA, Japan, Wales and Italy again.

The only defeats have come against world top three sides England and France in that period while seven of the wins came in a row to set a Scottish record and WXV 2 was won.

In Parma a few days ago in round four of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations it was not pretty at times, but the squad dug in to bounce back from the loss to England and finishing the ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Roses and France in the standings is in their hands now with the last game in Ireland to come in Belfast on Saturday.

A third-place finish would earn a WXV 1 place for later this year and secure qualification for Rugby World Cup 2025.

“I think we have been on the wrong side of tight scores a lot in the past, but we have been building and what is so good is that mentality and composure we are showing now in the moment when it comes to it,” centre Emma Orr, who scored a try in Italy, said.

“We know when we get it right in games we are now capable of beating a lot of teams and that experience of being in close games that didn’t go our way in the past has helped us get to this point.

“In terms of my try, well it was was quite a lucky try, but I was buzzing to get another try for Scotland.

“Looking back on the first half, there wasn’t any scores in the first sort of 30 minutes and it was really tight and then Italy scored.

“After that it was so important that we got things right from the next kick off and then Lana [Skeldon] scored that try.

“Things like that show that we are continuing to grow so much as a team, we were able to park the try that Italy had just scored and then move on quickly and put one on the board ourselves.

“It was a step in the right direction in the game and gave us some momentum heading into the second half.”

“There is more to come”

Rachel McLachlan, the 25-year-old back-row who now has 42 caps, was one of a batch of replacements who came off the bench in the second half and made an impact in Italy in the 17-10 victory.

She also believes the mentality is strong right now and she also feels that Scotland, now sixth in the world, can get even better.

“We have been on the end of tight losses before, but to now come through those games and be winning them is massive,” McLachlan stated.

“We know that we have more in us for sure which is so promising and looking to the future we know we can build on these performances and get a lot better so it is hugely promising.

“There is more to come.

“We are very much a ‘one game’ mentality type of team. We were very focused on the Italy game and now our attention will shift to Ireland.

“We want to finish the Six Nations on a high by beating Ireland and then we’ll take things from there.”

•   Chloe Rollie will miss the Ireland match this coming weekend after being suspended for three weeks following her red card versus Italy.

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the image of Emma Orr in Parma

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…

Thanks to those who have made this possible and if any companies/individuals are keen to support this work too, please email gary@gh-media.co.uk