Scotland face tough test against Spain in World Cup play-off

Scotland captain Lisa Martin. Picture: SNS
Scotland captain Lisa Martin. Picture: SNS
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Scotland head coach Shade Munro expects Spain to present a far sterner test than they did a year ago when the two sides meet on Friday in the first leg of a Women’s World Cup play-off.

The prize for the winner is a place at next year’s tournament in Ireland in a group comprising England, Italy and the United States. It’s a tantalising prospect but Munro knows his side have a battle on their hands to come through over the two legs.

Scotstoun is the venue on Friday, with the return in Madrid on Saturday 26 November.

“The players are really looking forward to getting out there and taking on Spain at Scotsoun,” Munro said after naming his team.

“We are well aware of the challenge that Spain presents and how important these Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers are. We know Spain will be a much better side than they were a year ago when we played them and won but then again so are we.

“We’ve been looking at different combinations this season to add depth to our experienced pool of players. Competition for a place in the squad keeps pushing them all on and the chance to play in next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup is another carrot.

“I’m excited to see what this group can achieve in front of a vocal home support at Scotstoun on Friday.”

The Scots beat Friday’s opponents 34-10 in Valladolid last year but Spain have since had the experience of playing at the Olympics, with many of the squad training full-time in the build-up to Rio.

Lisa Martin will captain the Scots from inside centre in a side which includes a debutant in the starting XV and three on the bench.

Hillhead Jordanhill’s Louise McMillan is set to earn her first cap when she starts at flanker, while Murrayfield Wanderers prop Lucy Park and Lichfield team-mates Sarah Bonar and Rachel Malcolm could also make their debuts off the bench.

All four uncapped players featured in last month’s non-cap match against Wales in Cardiff.

Friday’s game will be screened lived by BBC Alba.