Borderers face being forced to wait to take on world as women's cup contest looks set to be postponed
Three Borderers hoping to be in with a chance of playing at this year’s women’s Rugby World Cup face having to wait for an opportunity to potentially represent Scotland on that global stage.
Chloe Rollie, Lisa Thomson and Lana Skeldon had been looking likely to be in contention for places in the national female squad selected to compete against Ireland, Spain and Italy in a qualifying tournament for the contest for their sport’s biggest prize in New Zealand in the autumn.
The 2021 cup, the ninth, is now set to be postponed until 2022 due to problems posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however.
World Rugby is recommending the postponement of the competition, scheduled to take place from September 18 to October 16, until next year, and that proposal is expected to be rubber-stamped by the Rugby World Cup’s board next Monday, March 8, and the executive committee of the sport’s international governing body the day after.
A World Rugby spokesperson said: “The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global Covid-19 landscape.
“It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand government and participating unions that, given the scale of the event and Covid-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.”
A Scottish Rugby spokesperson added: “We are naturally disappointed with the news and we await further updates following the Rugby World Cup board and World Rugby executive committee meetings on March 8 and 9.
“Scotland Women’s focus now turns to preparing for the upcoming Six Nations tournament in April.”
This year’s postponed and abridged female Six Nations tournament will start on Saturday, April 3, and conclude on Saturday, April 24.
If Scotland qualify for the next world cup, it will be their sixth, having taken part in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010’s contests but not 2014 or 2017’s.
Jedburgh’s Rollie and Hawick’s Thomson are currently in training with the Great Britain rugby sevens squad in Leicestershire ahead of this summer’s Olympics in Japan, as reported in this week’s Southern.
Former Jedburgh Grammar School pupil Rollie, 25, has been capped 37 times, and ex-Hawick High students Thomson, 23, and Skeldon, 27, have played for their country 32 and 40 times respectively.