Jade Konkel pinpoints where Scotland Women can build from
The Scots went down 57-5 to the top-ranked team in the world at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh in front of a record crowd for a women’s international in this country of 3,988.
One of those areas was at scrum time and No 8 Konkel, the 28-year-old from the Black Isle who was winning her 50th cap, feels the forwards can take lots from that ahead of their trip to Cardiff this coming Saturday.
“I think our scrum worked really well against England,” Konkel said. “We had a pretty stable platform to work from. As a pack, people were putting their hands up, leg driving and making a big impact. We were getting ‘go forward’ and started to get a bit more structure in that part of our game which is good.
“We're just going to keep improving like that the more we play together.”
Konkel did admit that the team’s attack has to be more clinical during the rest of the tournament after they only had an unconverted try from full-back Chloe Rollie to show for their efforts versus England.
“Against England we made things difficult for ourselves at times,” the Harlequins player, whose dad Steve managed to make it back from work in Brazil in time to see her reach her milestone cap, said.
“We definitely could have converted more points in the gold zone [the English ‘22’]. I think we came up short on the scoreboard, we had those opportunities but that's why England are the best team in the world, they capitalise on those mistakes.
“We've got lots to take from this game, lots of little finer things that will allow us to put in positive performances throughout the rest of Six Nations. It was always going to be a tough start, but we’ve done it and I think we’ll learn from it and be stronger for it.”
Wales are a team in transition after a tough time last year, but clearly having 12 contracted players and 12 on retainer deals under new head coach Ioan Cunningham is helping them as they beat Ireland in Dublin 27-19 on Saturday.
They were 14-5 down at the break, but fought back and it should be a cracker at Cardiff Arms Park this coming Saturday because they are 11th in the world, Scotland are ninth and the teams will meet in the pool opener at the World Cup later in the year in New Zealand too.
“Against Wales, we've had some wins and some losses over the years, they are always close games,” Konkel states.
“World rankings don't necessarily tell the whole picture, they are a very physical team and it is always a super physical match when we play them.
“But I'd like to think that if we focus on ourselves we should come away with a win and that's what we're going to be striving for. It's about learning from this England performance and really pushing on for the win.”