Scotland head coach Shade Munro believes key player Jade Konkel’s return has boosted the confidence in the group already this week – and now he wants the team to put in a performance that he knows they are capable of against France on Saturday (kick-off 8pm GMT, live on BBC Alba).
The Women’s Six Nations returns for round three with the winless Scots facing a tough match against a strong French side at Le Stadium (Nord Lille Metropole) in Lille.
The French will be looking to bounce back from a defeat last time out to England while the Scots have lost to Italy and Ireland.
The home side will be favourites for this one, but Munro is delighted that Harlequins’ Konkel is back from injury at No.8.
The 25-year-old is Scotland’s best ball carrier and will be earning her 34th cap at the stadium where she played her club rugby last year.
“In the team room and at training Jade talks well and is a leader by nature. She hasn’t played for a while, but will make a difference,” Munro said.
“The plan was always to get her back for France, she has done her rehab and met all her targets.
“It is going to be a real challenge for us. France are one of the top teams in world women’s rugby at the moment.
“I watched the England v France match recently and the rugby was outstanding, two very good teams, so we aren’t underestimating the challenge that we face when we go over to France.
“It will be a challenge, but we will definitely meet it. We have done everything at training to prepare ourselves for this game.
“We should get a reaction [from the Ireland loss] and put in a better performance and it is about performing.
“I don’t care what the score is ultimately if they are giving everything that they have for the team.”
As well as Konkel, winger Rhona Lloyd, scrum-half Sarah Law and second-row Nicola Howat come into the starting XV.
And Munro praised Lloyd, saying: “Rhona comes in and has been the standout trainer certainly in the last couple of days. She adds a freshness.”
Konkel is in for Rachel Malcolm who has an injured arm with Lloyd in for Liz Musgrove (returned to Hong Kong), Law in for Mhairi Grieve (not selected this time) and Howat in for replacement Deborah McCormack.
On the bench Lucy Winter, Jenny Maxwell and Abi Evans join the 23.
15 Chloe Rollie
14 Rhona Lloyd
13 Hannah Smith
12 Lisa Thomson (C)
11 Annabel Sergeant
10 Helen Nelson
9 Sarah Law
1 Lisa Cockburn
2 Lana Skeldon
3 Megan Kennedy
4 Emma Wassell
5 Nicola Howat
6 Sarah Bonar
7 Rachel McLachlan
8 Jade Konkel
16 Jodie Rettie
17 Katie Dougan
18 Mairi Forsyth
19 Lucy Winter
20 Deborah McCormack
21 Jenny Maxwell
22 Lisa Martin
23 Abi Evans
Thanks to Rugby People for the photo of Jade Konkel
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