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McCormack’s back: Experience could be key for Scots in crucial match

Virtuo LogoScotland head coach Shade Munro is delighted to have experienced second-row Deborah McCormack back from injury for this Friday’s big Women’s Six Nations match with Ireland.

The 34-year-old has 28 international caps under her belt, but plays her first game of the season at this level at Scotstoun (7.35pm, live on BBC ALBA).

With Siobhan Cattigan out for an extended period with a foot injury, Sarah Bonar moves back to No.8 with Harlequins’ McCormack coming into the boiler house after recovering from a lay-off caused by a shoulder issue.

That is the only change from the 23 that lost out 28-7 to Italy in week one ahead of this important match which is 11th in the world against 10th.

“It is good timing to bring a player of Debs’ calibre back in, she brings leadership, experience, she has ‘been there, seen it and done it’ and is raring to go,” Munro said.

“Debs has fitted back in well into the group.

“For the first time [of late] against Italy we actually took a scrum rather than going for a kick to the corner and that shows increased confidence in that area.

“The pack will again be crucial against Ireland.

“Ireland have a new coaching group and are in transition with players in and out, but they are getting better. They have a good set piece, a good lineout drive and that is how they like to play the game.

“Our backs may have the edge if we use them correctly, against Italy our game management wasn’t the best and we can’t just expect things to happen, we didn’t vary the game and we ran out of steam.”

As Munro touched on, both sets of forwards are getting better an wil be key in what is set to be a tight match.

A lot of that is down to the fact that in Scotland’s camp is Al Dickinson and in Ireland’s is Mike Ross.

Both earned over 50 caps – and had some personal battles – for the respective men’s international sides until recent years and their influence this week in both camps could be crucial.

Ireland lost 51-3 to a very strong England side last week and Munro added:  “Ireland are an extremely physical and tough team to play against and performed very well in the set piece against England. We are very much looking forward to the challenge and to performing again in front of our home crowd at Scotstoun Stadium.”

Scotland squad

15 Chloe Rollie (Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvios)
14 Liz Musgrove (Hong Kong RFC)
13 Hannah Smith (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
12 Lisa Thomson (Darlington Mowden Park, C)
11 Annabel Sergeant (Heriot’s Rugby Club)
10 Helen Nelson (Montpellier)
9 Mhairi Grieve (Firwood Waterloo)
1 Lisa Cockburn (Darlington Mowden Park)
2 Lana Skeldon (Watsonians)
3 Megan Kennedy (Stirling County)
4 Emma Wassell (Heriot’s Rugby Club)
5 Deborah McCormack (Harlequins)
6 Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning)
7 Rachel McLachlan (Stirling County)
8 Sarah Bonar (Loughborough Lightning)

Substitutes:
16 Jodie Rettie (Saracens)
17 Katie Dougan (Gloucester Hartpury)
18 Mairi Forsyth (Stirling County)
19 Sophie Anderson (Hillhead Jordanhill)
20 Nicola Howat (Edinburgh University)
21 Sarah Law (Edinburgh University)
22 Lisa Martin (Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvios)
23 Rhona Lloyd (Loughborough Lightning)

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the photo of Deborah McCormack

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