How Scotland's women will be spurred to win over Japan by returning crowd

It is coming up for two full years since Scotland’s Women’s rugby team played a home match in front of a crowd, so it is perhaps no surprise that front-rower Leah Bartlett is “super excited” ahead of Sunday’s Autumn Test with Japan.

Scotland's Leah Bartlett during Scotland Women's rugby training at the DAM Health Stadium, on November 10, 2021. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

The Scots are up to ninth in the world rankings following their efforts at the European World Cup qualifying event in Italy in September.

In Parma, a late try from Chloe Rollie – converted by Sarah Law – in their final game against Ireland secured them victory and gave them a lifeline.

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Now they are preparing for to the final World Cup qualifying event against the likes of Samoa, Columbia and Hong Kong or Kazakhstan in early 2022 with one more spot at the showpiece event in New Zealand later that year up for grabs.

Leah Bartlett in action for Scotland during the Women's Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales in April (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

With Japan 12th in the rankings and already going to the World Cup, Sunday’s clash at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh (4.10pm, live on BBC ALBA) should be a good marker for the hosts.

Bartlett, the 23-year-old Loughborough Lightning prop, had not even earned her first cap when the two countries last met at Scotstoun in late November 2019.

It proved to be the last women’s international on Scottish soil with a crowd.

“I am really looking forward to the atmosphere on Sunday and I’m just thinking how good it will be to play in front of a home crowd, I am super excited,” she said.

“Japan are a dangerous side so we are expecting a hard fought match.”

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