Regular Borders trio in quest to help Scots women reach Rugby World Cup

Scotland’s trio of regular Borders choices could have a major part to play as the nation’s women make their final bid to reach the Rugby World Cup.

By Ralph Mellon
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 4:16 pm
Chloe Rollie (picture by Alessandro Sabattini/World Rugby via Getty Images)
Chloe Rollie (picture by Alessandro Sabattini/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Chlore Rollie, Lisa Thomson and Lana Skeldon – with 130 caps between them – retain their places once again in the squad named by head coach Bryan Easson for tomorrow’s last qualification match against Colombia at The Sevens Stadium, Dubai.

The contest kicks off at 3pm GMT (7pm local time) and is live on BBC ALBA.

Scotland are one game away from a place in this year’s tournament, having not appeared in it since 2010. The winners of Friday’s (February 25) match will join hosts New Zealand, Australia and Wales in Pool A of the Rugby World Cup in October and November.

Lisa Thomson scores a try for Great Britain against Kenya in last year's Tokyo Olympics (picture by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

Easson has opted for experience continuity in selection for the final leg of Scotland’s journey, with 14 players retaining their spot in the starting line-up from last September’s qualifier match against Ireland.

The tight-five sees Hawick-raised hooker Lana Skeldon, now with Worcester Warriors, pack down alongside Leah Bartlett and Christine Belisle in the front row, with Emma Wassell and Louise McMillan named in the second row.

Captain Rachel Malcolm joins Rachel McLachlan and Jade Konkel in the back row to form the remainder of the pack.

Jenny Maxwell gets the nod at scrum half, while Sarah Law starts at stand-off, having kicked the crucial conversion against Ireland that secured Scotland’s place in the final qualification tournament.

Lana Skeldon (picture by Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)

Helen Nelson and Hawick’s own Lisa Thomson, of Sale Sharks Ladies, making make up the centre partnership, with Nelson starting at inside centre and former captain Thomson at outside centre.

An experienced back three sees Jedburgh’s own Chloe Rollie, of Exeter Chiefs, start at full back, with Rhona Lloyd and Megan Gaffney on the wings.

Easson said: “I think it was important to look at the team that played against Ireland and Japan, as we’ve got good consistency with this group at the moment.

“We’ve got real depth within our group, so it’s a testament to those starting this weekend but also to those on the bench who have been pushing them hard for places.

“Our forward pack has been really solid in recent games, while in the backs, we’ve got a tried and tested group.

“We are really looking forward to the match. It’s been a long qualification journey and I’m sure it’ll be an exciting match for everyone watching back home.”

The action can be followed live on BBC ALBA and across Rugby World Cup’s social channels and website. Live updates will also be provided on scottishrugby.org

The Scotland team comprises:

15 Chloe Rollie (Exeter Chiefs, 44 caps), 14 Rhona Lloyd, 13 Lisa Thomson (Sale Sharks, 39 caps), 12 Helen Nelson, 11 Megan Gaffney, 10 Sarah Law, 9 Jenny Maxwell.

1 Leah Bartlett, 2 Lana Skeldon (Worcester Warriors, 47 caps), 3 Christine Belisle, 4 Emma Wassell, 5 Louise McMillan, 6 Rachel Malcolm (captain), Rachel McLachlan, 8 Jade Konkel.

Substitutes – 16 Molly Wright, 17 Lisa Cockburn, 18. Katie Dougan, 19 Eva Donaldson, 20 Evie Gallagher, 21 Caity Mattinson, 22 Evie Wills, 23 Shona Campbell.