After a whirlwind week, Scotland Women’s debutant Bridget Millar-Mills can now concentrate on her rugby this afternoon as the team look to cause a major upset when they take on the world’s top side England in their RBS Six Nations opener.
Since last week’s Scotland on Sunday alerted everyone to the fact that Bridget would be coming against her sister Harriet, who is amongst the England replacements this afternoon, the duo have been inundated with media requests over the last few days, including a chat with Chris Evans on Radio 2 yesterday morning. However, now Worcester second-row Millar-Mills is fully focused on winning her first cap alongside the experienced Lindsay Wheeler in the pack for Scotland. And the 23-year-old and the rest of the Scotland squad know they will have to be at their best to compete in Esher in Surrey against an English side that defeated New Zealand 3-0 in a series in the autumn.
In terms of Scotland Women’s head coach Karen Findlay’s selection for the match, Millar-Mills is the only new cap in the starting XV, but there are four uncapped players – Becca Parker, Jade Konkel, Sarah Law and Leanne Neary – on the bench waiting eagerly to get their opportunity.
Hillhead/Jordanhill back-row Mary Lafaiki makes her first start for Scotland in the back-row after six previous caps off the bench, while the experience of scrum-half Louise Dalgliesh will be key in the backline who will need to use all the ball they get wisely. For the hosts, Richmond’s Abigail Chamberlain is to make her debut in the centre.
Chamberlain, who has played for England A and captained England 7s, is part of a young backline, with several regulars – the likes of Emily Scarratt, Katy McLean and Alice Richardson – all involved in the Sevens World Series in Houston this weekend. The match kicks-off at 2pm and can be seen live on www.rfu.com/englandwomenlive
England: L Cattell (Saracens); L Thompson (Worcester), A Chamberlain (Richmond), Ar Reed, K Wilson (both Bristol); C Large (Worcester), G Gulliver (Lichfield); K Newton (Bristol), E Croker (Richmond), R Crowley, T Taylor, Emily Braund (all Lichfield), J McGilchrist (Wasps), S Hunter (Lichfield), H Gallagher (Saracens). Subs: V Fleetwood (Lichfield), L Keates, R Clark (both Worcester), R Essex (Richmond), H Millar-Mills (Lichfield), L Mason (Wasps), S Tuson (Bristol), F Pocock (Richmond).
Scotland: S Johnston (RHC Cougars); A Sergeant (Richmond), S Dixon (RHC Cougars), L Ritchie (Carlisle), M Gaffney (Hillhead/Jordanhill); T Griffith (RHC Cougars), L Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars); H Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill), S Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), T Balmer (Worcester), L Wheeler (Richmond), B Millar-Mills (Worcester), M Lafaiki (Hillhead/Jordanhill), S Brown (Richmond), T Forsberg (Richmond). Subs: B Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), S McKerlie-Hex (Murrayfield Wanderers), Ly Smith, B Parker, J Konkel (all Hillhead/Jordanhill), S Law, L Neary (both Murrayfield Wanderers), L Harris (Melrose).