Flash of Lightning: Duo aiming to impress on return for Scotland

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Scotland head coach Shade Munro believes Loughborough Lightning duo Sarah Bonar and Rachel Malcolm can give the ever-improving pack yet another lift on Friday night in the Women’s Six Nations opener.

The 24-year-old second-row and 27-year-old back-row have not played for their country for a while, but are back for the 2019 clash with Italy at Scotstoun (7.35pm, live on BBC ALBA).

Bonar has recently recovered from an ankle problem and Malcolm a concussion issue and over the last few weeks they have shown they are back to full fitness with their club down south.

They come into the team for Nicola Howat – who is on the bench – and Louise McMillan who suffered an arm injury against Spain earlier in January.

“It is good to have them back,” Munro said of the 12-times-capped and eight-times-capped players.

“Sarah hasn’t really played since the Italian game [in November]. She came back for a period and then re-injured her ankle, so that then became a longer-term injury.

“Now she has played the last three games for her club and she came through 80 minutes at the weekend, so that kind of experienced player coming back into the squad is excellent.

“Same for Rachel, who has been long-term injured. Her return to play has been properly managed.

“It’s been concussion, and you’ll know how hot a topic that is, so there’s no risk been taken whatsoever. Thankfully she is back and she’s been training really well.

“We’ve had really good feedback from the players’ club coaches about them.”

Liz and Sarah back

Also back into the starting XV for this one is 22-year-old winger Liz Musgrove.

She is currently working and playing in Hong Kong, but Scottish Rugby have managed to bring her back for this game.

Munro said:  “Liz is back for a period of time. She’s got a job over there [Hong Kong].

“We were in a position from a Scottish Rugby point of view where we were allowed to do it once [bring her back], so we as coaches decided that this was the one to bring her back for.

“She is not here for the whole tournament as far as we’re aware, but things may change.”

And Sarah Law, the 24-year-old scrum-half with 35 caps under her belt, is back from long-term injury on the bench.

“Sarah has been through a long period of rehab, she hadn’t played for a long number of months, but she played for the university [Edinburgh] and came through 80 minutes last week and had no recurrence of her injury at all,” Munro said.

“Previously when she upped the intensity it [the injury] came back. She had an operation to fix it and that would appear to have worked. She’s a class act, a real rugby player who knows the game well.

“It’s a good position for us to have somebody of that calibre in the squad – she’s on the bench for this one, so we’ll see how she goes.”

Winger Rhona Lloyd is also back after a period out and she joins the bench along with prop Katie Dougan.

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 (Heriots 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 (Heriots Rugby Club)
5 Sarah Bonar (Loughborough Lightning)
6 Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning)
7 Rachel McLachlan (Stirling County)
8 Siobhan Cattigan (Stirling County)

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 Sarah Bonar

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