LAURA Steven is looking to mark her full recovery from a long-term back injury in style tomorrow when she makes her first start of the year for Scotland Women.
The Murrayfield Wanderers centre will be earning her 30th cap as the team take on Wales Women at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow and for her it will be a big moment. In May last year she suffered a prolapsed disk in her back and that saw her out of action until January this year.
She progressed sufficiently to earn places on the bench for the opening three RBS Six Nations matches against England, Italy and Ireland but, after just seven, 40 and no minutes on the pitch, she is eager to show what she can do against Wales.
Steven, who turned 29 on Thursday, said: “I am so excited to be back in the starting line-up. It has been a long time coming, but I have worked hard and now I need to grab my chance with both hands. Injuries are part of the game and while I was out I was still very much kept in the squad and was invited to all the training camps and such like, but nothing beats getting out on the pitch.
“As backs we know there is pressure on us to create chances and score tries which we have been struggling to get of late and we are all excited about playing at Scotstoun.”
Scotland go into this one with three defeats from three, but the performance against Ireland a fortnight ago was much improved. As well as Steven, Bridget Millar-Mills comes in to the starting line-up for the injured Becca Parker. Wales head north on the back of a win over Italy.
Scotland Women: Steph Johnston (RHC Cougars); Annabel Sergeant (Richmond), Sarah Dixon (RHC Cougars), Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Megan Gaffney (Hillhead/Jordanhill); Tanya Griffith, Louise Dalgliesh (both RHC Cougars); Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), Tracey Balmer (Worcester), Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond), Bridget Millar-Mills (Worcester), Jade Konkel (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Susie Brown, Tess Forsberg (both Richmond). Subs: Beth Dickens, Suzanne McKerlie-Hex (both Murrayfield Wanderers), Lindsey Smith (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Kelly Shields, Sarah Law, Lyndsay O’Donnell (Worcester), Leanne Neary (RHC Cougars), Lauren Harris (Melrose).
Wales Women: Dyddgu Hywel; Caryl James (Cardiff Quins), Elen Evans, Rebecca De Filippo (Cardiff Quins), Philippa Tuttiett (Cardiff Quins); Elinor Snowsill (Bristol), Laura Prosser (Pontyclun); Meg York (Blaenau Gwent), Carys Phillips (Cardiff Met), Catrin Edwards (Cardiff Quins), Vicky Owens (Pontyclun), Shona Powell Hughes (Neath Athletic), Sioned Harries (Cardiff Quins), Rachel Taylor (Bristol), Nia Davies (Cardiff Met). Subs: Lowri Harries (Neath Athletic), Jenny Davies (Waterloo), Bethan Howell (Seven Sisters), Gemma Hallett (Pontyclun), Catrina Nicholas (Cardiff Quins), Amy Day (Unattached), Charlie Murray (Neath Athletic), Leila Johns (Unattached).