Scotland on a high and aiming to create a record in Women's Six Nations opener with help of 'unreal' bench

Scots head to Cardiff on back of six straight victories after WXV 2 success
Sarah Bonar during a Scotland training session at the Hive Stadium ahead of the start of the Women's Six Nations. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)Sarah Bonar during a Scotland training session at the Hive Stadium ahead of the start of the Women's Six Nations. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Sarah Bonar during a Scotland training session at the Hive Stadium ahead of the start of the Women's Six Nations. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Winning the WXV 2 title was a great stepping stone for Scotland and now they are ready to take on some of the best teams in the world during the Guinness Women’s Six Nations, says second-row Sarah Bonar.

Scotland are currently on a six-match unbeaten run and are looking to create a record with a seventh when they take on Wales in their tournament opener at the Cardiff Arms Pary today (4,45pm, live on BBC Sport).

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The run of victories came off the back of a 12-game losing streak and started last April when they saw off Italy and Ireland at the end of the 2023 Six Nations. A friendly win over Spain followed before success in the first ever second tier WXV 2 event in South Africa in October thanks to wins over the hosts, USA and Japan.

As a result, women’s rugby in Scotland is on a high just now, but the squad know facing up against the Welsh, who have been a tough nut to crack in recent years and were in WXV 1 a few months back, will be their hardest task since the positive run began.

Scotland are eighth in the current world rankings with Wales sixth and finished fourth and third respectively in this event last year.

Second-row Bonar said: “Being on this good run and then playing in WXV 2 was a really good stepping stone to now playing against some of the best in the world, so we’re really excited for the challenge ahead.

“We know what Wales are going to bring. They’ve got physicality in abundance, they’ve got threats from 1 to 15, and on the bench as well. We have got a game plan that we’re going to stick to and we’re looking forward to putting a performance together.

“As a squad we’ve discussed what we want out of this Six Nations. We’re just really looking to build on the back of WXV 2 and put together some winning performances.”

Last year when the teams met in this tournament Wales won 34-22 versus Scotland in Edinburgh, their forward power grinding the Scots down eventually. In recent times Wales’ bench strength has also helped them over the line in these contests, but Scotland’s bench looks as strong as it has now for many a year.

“I think it’s testament to the support and the growth of the women’s game that we have in Scotland, that we have that incredible bench to come on and finish the job,” Bonar, 30, said. “To have that experience there to help us later in the game is unreal.”

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Scotland have had to make a late change on the bench, Eva Donaldson replacing the injured Rachel McLachlan who has a niggle.

This will be the first women’s Six Nations that has had all teams having names on the backs of shirts and Scotland skipper Rachel Malcolm believes that is an exciting development.

"It's super exciting and when I first saw my shirt it was quite emotional because visibility so important to us,” back-row Malcolm said. “It probably seems insignificant to people who watch other sports, but for us as women in rugby, we've always been fighting against the tide, trying to grow our game and trying to get role models out there for young girls, young boys, whoever it may be.

“The difference this could make is absolutely massive.”

Scotland: Meryl Smith; Rhona Lloyd, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Coreen Grant; Helen Nelson, Caity Mattinson; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Sarah Bonar, Rachel Malcolm (C), Alex Stewart, Evie Gallagher. Subs: Elis Martin, Molly Wright, Elliann Clarke, Louise McMillan, Eva Donaldson, Mairi McDonald, Shona Campbell, Chloe Rollie.

Wales: J Hesketh; J Joyce, H Jones (C), K Lake, N Metcalfe; L George, K Bevan; G Pyrs, K Jones, S Tuipulotu, N John, A Flenming, A Butchers, A Callender, B Lewis. Subs: C Phillips, A Constable, D Rose, G Evans, K Williams, S Jones, N Terry, C Cox.



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