Women’s 6N: “It’s going to be a brilliant atmosphere and we can’t wait,” says England attack coach Meadows

Gary Heatly

England attack coach Lou Meadows is looking forward to the Guinness Women’s Six Nations match against Scotland on Saturday.

When Scotland took on England in the Six Nations match at the DAM Health Stadium – now the Hive – in late March 2022, 3,988 people were in attendance.

Fast forward just over two years and this Saturday coming, April 13, there will be 7,774 at Hive Stadium for the 2024 round three match between the two sides.

That is a sell-out and breaks the home tournament record for a Scotland game set just a week and a half ago when 5,601 were in Edinburgh to see the round two match against France.

England have defeated Italy and Wales so far with bonus points while Scotland defeated Wales and were edged out by France.

There is a real ‘feel good’ factor around Scottish women’s rugby right now, but England will be an even tougher test than France. They are number one in the world rankings with Scotland seventh and last year in Newcastle the English team won this one 58-7.

These are always big games though and although Scotland are massive underdogs the buzz around this one is really building up nicely.

Meadows, whose England charges played in front of a crowd of 19,705 at Ashton Gate in Bristol last time out, said:  “The kind of atmosphere that is going to be there on Saturday is the kind that we relish as coaches and players.

“It is excellent to hear that it is a sell-out and Scotland have been building well and women’s rugby in general continues to grow.

“It is about our players rising to that crowd and that atmosphere and really using it to push their adrenaline to ‘get after it’.

“There will be a lot of Scotland supporters there, but the England players will also have friends and family in the stands on the day and that really drives their performances to another level.

“It also creates a bit of pressure as well, but I think that is where players shine when they execute under pressure and show what they are capable of.

“We are testing their skillsets every day and when you have those kind of sell-out crowds when there is a great atmosphere and volume and noise in the stadiums it tests lots of things like communicating at set piece time and across the pitch and these are the kind of games we want to be in pushing towards a World Cup next year.

“It’s going to be a brilliant atmosphere on Saturday and we can’t wait.”

Meadows has watched Scotland’s first two matches in the competition where their defence has looked better than in the last few years and she has been working with the England players to combat that.

“We massively focus on ourselves, but we do look at the opposition as we have to look at defensive trends specifically because each team defends differently,” the coach, who used to be the head coach of the England under-20s before joining this set up in May last year, explained.

“My job is to hunt the weaknesses in those systems, so it is about understanding how both teams play, but also a competitive match like Scotland had against France really gives you a good insight into their systems and potentially where cracks might appear.

“It was exciting for me to watch that game that Scotland had against France and the way they played against Wales to see how they were defending, but in general the main focus is on us, getting our game working and then implementing it come Saturday.”

Thanks to the RFU for the image of Lou Meadows

During the Guinness Women’s Six Nations period through to the end of April, GH Media will be covering all aspects of women’s rugby in Scotland via reports, features and interviews…

Thanks to those who have made this possible and if any companies/individuals are keen to support this work too, please email gary@gh-media.co.uk