Women face test against auld enemy

SCOTLAND’S women’s rugby team will put their reputation as European champions on the line tomorrow against a highly-rated England side, writes BILL LOTHIAN.

The visitors were missing when the continental tournament was decided in favour of the Scots last year.

First priority for the women is to re-schedule to a new venue after Inverleith was declared unplayable and a pitch in East Lothian is believed to be lined up.

But national women’s organiser Barb Wilson would not deny that the Scots have to justify their European champions tag in a fixture that puts them against the world’s third-ranking side, behind New Zealand and the USA.

"There is a lot Scotland have to prove" admitted Wilson, who added that in the Six Nations series Scotland were seeking a good start as a springboard to a determined title bid, while it was an incentive to maintain an unbeaten run spanning six games - five without conceding a try.

Scotland are along similar lines to the side which defeated USA 22-3 at Meggetland in November following a successful start to the autumn campaign with a 13-3 win over Sweden.

Wilson insists feet are being kept firmly on the ground, although she acknowledged the boost that would come from defeating the "auld enemy" in the run-up to this Spring’s World Cup in Spain.

She said: "While Scotland did well to defeat USA it cannot be overlooked that England also did themselves a power of good by defeating New Zealand last summer."

Scotland: Sarah Higgins (Royal High), Jennifer Dickson (Richmond), Rimma Petlevannaia (Murrayfield Wanderers), Mary Pat Tierney (Watsonians), Angela Hutt, Denis Fairbairn, Paula Chalmers (all Murrayfield Wanderers), Karen Findlay, captain, Vicky Wiseman, Vicky Galbraith (all Richmond), Lee Cockburn (Royal High), Clare Muir (Murrayfield Wands), Jennifer Sheerin (Richmond), Donna Kennedy (Royal High), Beth MacLeod (Murrayfield Wanderers). Subs: Ali MacKenzie, Ali Christie (both Royal High), Lisa O’Keefe (Richmond), Jennifer Hanley (Waterloo), Fiona Gillanders (Wasps), Ali Newall (Clifton), Rhona Shepherd (Murrayfield Wanderers).