Francesca McGhie recalls showreel try as Scotland Women chase highest Six Nations finish in 19 years

What victory over Ireland in Belfast would mean for Scotland
Francesca McGhie during a Scotland Women training session at the Oriam this week. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Francesca McGhie during a Scotland Women training session at the Oriam this week. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Francesca McGhie during a Scotland Women training session at the Oriam this week. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Scotland winger Francesca McGhie has fond memories of playing against Ireland and she wants to create more on Saturday afternoon in the crucial Guinness Women’s Six Nations clash in Belfast.

Last year in the final game of the tournament McGhie, then just 19, got the ball out wide in the 65th in front of a then-record home crowd of 4,862 at Hive Stadium. Great pace got her past her opposite number and then she showed neat footwork to cut inside the scrambling defence and dot down for her first ever international score.

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Scotland won that game versus Ireland 36-10 and it was their second victory of a run that has now stretched to eight in 10 Tests over the last 12 months. It was only rookie McGhie’s fifth cap at the time, but now she is a full-time professional player with Scottish Rugby and Leicester Tigers and will be playing for her country for a 12th time this weekend at the Kingspan Stadium. With her milestone 21st birthday coming up on May 7 a victory would be the perfect early present and it would also be significant for Scotland.

Last week’s win over Italy in Parma means that the Scots are third in the table and if they can get another positive result here then they would finish in that spot for the first time since 2005. That would qualify them for WXV 1 later in the year and Rugby World Cup 2025, so there is a lot on the line for Bryan Easson’s charges.

“It was a good game last year, for sure,” East Lothian-reared McGhie, 20, said recounting the last win over the Irish. “It was certainly quite special for me and the try has been posted a few times on social media since. That campaign, that game and that try really helped me personally with the confidence to know that I can do it at an international level. It will definitely be a tough match this time around. We’ll just go into this game looking for the rugby that we want to play. Ireland aren't going to be an easy team to play against, they’re very physical and we’ve just got to bring it to them.”

Her amazing 2023 saw McGhie nominated for World Rugby's women's breakthrough player of the year, but 2024 did not start so smoothly.

“I missed the first two games of the Six Nations as I had pneumonia,” she revealed ahead of facing fifth in the table Ireland. “I had actually broken my thumb and had to go to hospital and I think I got a chest infection from there. It just never went away and I ended up with pneumonia. I had to be patient so when I came off the bench against England a few weeks ago I was just happy to be running about again. I managed to build on that last week in Italy and now I’m looking forward to this game.”

The match on Super Saturday as the competition comes to a conclusion is at 2.30pm and will be live on BBC Sport.

Scotland: Meryl Smith; Coreen Grant, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Francesca McGhie; Helen Nelson, Caity Mattinson; Molly Wright, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (C), Alex Stewart, Evie Gallagher. Subs: Elis Martin, Leah Bartlett, Elliann Clarke, Eva Donaldson, Rachel McLachan, Mairi McDonald, Cieron Bell, Nicole Flynn.



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