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U20 6N WSS: Injuries hit squad badly, but coaches proud of “Scottish warriors”

Gary Heatly

Scotland battled hard, but a stream of injuries which led to them playing the last 28 minutes with 14 players and the fact that they were up against the standard-bearers for women’s age-grade rugby saw them lose 69-10 to France on Tuesday evening.

This was their second game in Parma in the under-20 Six Nations Women’s Summer Series and they will now regroup ahead of one last game in Italy versus Ireland on Sunday.

What they said…

Scotland head coach Claire Cruikshank said:  “Everyone is disappointed, the players are competitive and they want to win international rugby matches, but we were up against one of the best under-20 teams in the world and we’ve been competitive.

“Maybe the scoreline doesn’t reflect that and the second half ran away from us, but we’re really proud of the effort and there’s loads to take building into that Ireland game.

“We were really pleased with the start, we knew if we could come out firing and look after the ball then we could pose some problems.

“After the first couple of minutes we started to believe so we’re super proud of what we did in those first 20 minutes and throughout the whole game.

“It was always going to be tough to come back from injuries suffered in the first few minutes.”

A review of the match…

Scotland were dealt a double blow early on when, after three minutes, loosehead prop Chloe Brown and second-row Ellie Williamson were forced off injured. Co-captain Poppy Fletcher and Holland Bogan came on.

Scotland then scored the opening try in the ninth minute, back-row Gemma Bell showing good strength to go over. Centre Lucy MacRae converted from in front of the posts to make it 7-0.

A third injury change then had to be made with tighthead prop Molly Poolman forced off with Eilidh Fleming coming on.

France battled back into this one and, just before the end of the first quarter, a well-timed run from centre Suliana Sivi put her over. The conversion hit the post and it was 7-5 at the first drinks break.

In the 25th minute France took the lead for the first time when centre Hawa Tounkara went over for a try and converted it to go 12-7 up.

Eight minutes later winger Lea Trollier finished off a converted try to make it 19-7.

Just before half-time France’s fourth try came via powerful second-row Amalia Bazola. Tounkara converted.

MacRae then missed a penalty late on and it was 26-7 at the interval.

Soon after half-time a successful MacRae penalty made it 26-10 before Anna de Almeida, the scrum-half, scored a converted try for France.

Back-row Patrice-Grace Libali was next to score for France and it was 40-10.

Scotland then lost a second tighthead prop, Fleming, through injury meaning that they had to play the last 28 minutes with just 14 players and it was uncontested scrums.

Eneka Labeyrie scored France’s next try and it was 45-10 at the next drinks break.

No.8 Zoe Jean, the France captain, bagged try number eight before sub Mae Levy crossed for number nine.

Try 10 went to full-back Kelly Arbey and try 11 to winger Alice Grandhomme as it finished 69-10.

The other round two scores were Italy 24 Ireland 17 and England 55 Wales 24.

Summer-y of the Summer Series game…

  • There is bad luck with injuries and then there is bad luck with injuries. After the game one 17-13 loss to Italy, Scotland had to rest Leia Brebner-Holden, Merryn Gunderson and Nicole Flynn through injury and then, in this France contest, three players were off by the 10th minute and another followed in the second half.

That’s seven players out of 28 and Claire Cruikshank and her staff will be hoping the medics can do their magic before Sunday.

  • After the match, Claire Cruikshank described the squad as her “Scottish warriors who will fight for anything” and the players who were on the park for the last 28 minutes must take credit. Yes, France ran in five more tries, but they had their tails up by then and the Scots were a player down.

The team kept putting their bodies on the line and they can be proud of that tenacity and desire.

  • Lucy MacRae looks a good prospect. The playmaker, playing 12 just now, has been working a lot with Scotland stand-off Helen Nelson and she has the same calmness and authority out there on the pitch as her more experienced mentor.

Having come through at Helensburgh, Hillhead Jordanhill and Stirling County, MacRae now plays for the University of Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors and already has a good boot on her.

To come…

Scotland play Ireland on July 14 at 9am.

The Scottish fixtures will be available to watch via scottishrugby.org, with all remaining matches available on the Six Nations Rugby YouTube channels.

Scotland matchday 23 that played France

15. Izzy McGuire-Evans (Sale Sharks/Glasgow Warriors)

14. Sky Phimister (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

13. Lucia Scott (Hartpury University/Gloucester Hartpury)

12. Lucy MacRae (University of Edinburgh/Glasgow Warriors)

11. Hannah Walker (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby, C-C)

10. Hannah Ramsay (Unattached/Edinburgh Rugby)

9. Rhea Clarke (University of Edinburgh/Glasgow Warriors)

1. Chloe Brown (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

2. Karis Craig (Watsonian FC/Glasgow Warriors)

3. Molly Poolman (Watsonian FC/Edinburgh Rugby)

4. Ellie Williamson (West of Scotland/Glasgow Warriors)

5. Natasha Logan (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby)

6. Gemma Bell (Hartpury University/Gloucester Hartpury/Edinburgh Rugby)

7. Samaanther Taganekurukuru (Stirling County/Edinburgh Rugby)

8. Megan Hyland (Garioch/Glasgow Warriors)


16. Aila Ronald (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby)

17. Poppy Fletcher (University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh Rugby, C-C)

18. Eilidh Fleming (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

19. Holland Bogan (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

20. Lauryn Walter (Brunel University/Ealing Trailfinders)

21. Rebekah Douglas (Corstorphine Cougars/Glasgow Warriors)

22. Ceitidh Ainsworth (Stirling County/Glasgow Warriors)

23. Ami Conchie (Watsonian FC/Edinburgh Rugby)

Scotland are pictured versus France, thanks to Scottish Rugby for the image

During the under-20 Six Nations Women’s Summer Series period through July, GH Media will be covering all aspects of the tournament…

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