Al be just fine: Scrum tips from Dickinson leaves Lisa ready for Six Nations bow

Virtuo LogoWhen you are offered coaching from someone who won 58 caps for their country in your position in the run up to the Women’s Six Nations it must give you a boost and a half.

And, as a result of scrummaging sessions with fellow loosehead prop Al Dickinson, Scotland’s Lisa Cockburn is feeling good ahead of the big match with Italy at Scotstoun on Friday night (7.35pm, live on BBC ALBA).

The 26-year-old Darlington Mowden Park Sharks player will be earning her fourth cap at the top level in this one – and she has benefitted from working with the recently retired Dickinson – who played for the men’s team between 2007 and 2016 – who now works with Scottish Rugby.

“We have done loads of work with him on the scrums, every session we do a little bit and he believes in drip feeding info in to us which has really helped,” she said.

“We have done stuff around two on ones, our body shape, analysis as a unit with him and on Wednesday this week we were hitting the scrum machine hard!

“We have the technique, it is about applying that and getting the mindset right. He has been giving me tips from a loosehead point of view and that has been very helpful.

“Technically as a pack we have improved a lot and we have analysed our body positions, we need to stay low. We are not the biggest pack, but we need to be more technically accurate at scrum time. We have to give 100 percent until the ball is gone.

“We are hitting the hell out of the scrum machine and getting there for sure.”

Growing up in Hampshire on a farm with Scottish parents, Cockburn always knew of her roots north of the border.

She took up the sport aged 14 and progressed to playing at university and then with DMP who now play at the highest level in England.

Scotland head coach Shade Munro invited her to a training camp last March at the end of the 2018 Six Nations and things have moved quickly from there.

The 26-year-old has started Scotland’s three Test matches so far this season against Italy, Canada and Spain.

“Playing against England players and the like week in and week out for my club only helps you raise your own level,” she said.

“It has made my progress better and playing in the top English league gives me an advantage.

“Each time you move up the levels in rugby it just gets quite a lot faster! It was a whole other step up, the speed and intensity and you just have to remain confident in your abilities.

“I really wanted to give it a shot with Scotland and Shade and the squad have made me very welcome.

“It means a lot playing for Scotland and having my grandpa here at Scotstoun to watch the Canada game [back in November] was incredibly emotional, he had not seen me play since I was 15.

“As a team we have been building continuously over the last three games, we are more well drilled and singing from the same hymn sheet.

“Everyone knows the way we want to play and our structure and if something goes wrong we don’t panic.

“We know what we are capable of and we have to go out there with belief and purpose.”

Thanks to Mark Brown/Rugby People for the photo of Lisa Cockburn and David Gibson/FOTOSPORT for the photo of Al Dickinson

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