Scotland Women may have been distraught to be denied a famous draw as Ireland snatched an injury-time try last week but it didn’t take long for that feeling to be replaced by pride in an outstanding performance.
Coach Shade Munro has witnessed confidence surge through his players after they ran the champions from two years ago so close, losing just 22-15 less than a year after being thumped 45-12 by the same team.
“The players stepped up last week and really took it to Ireland for the whole 80 minutes,” said Munro.
“While we were disappointed to lose to Ireland, the players walked off with confidence and belief that they can compete on this stage.”
Munro has made just one change to the team for Saturday’s trip to face France in La Rochelle and it is an enforced one, with hooker Rachel Malcolm out of the rest of the tournament with an ankle injury. She is replaced by Lana Skeldon.
The coach is delighted that his charges responded to the disappointment of losing a two-legged World Cup play-off to Spain at the end of last year with such a positive display which came so close to being an extraordinary result.
“I think the worry for me was that they would not pick up and improve from the Spain game, but they did,” said Munro. “In all the key performance indicators we go through they got better against Ireland and it was the best defensive display under me. Outstanding defence is at the top of our winning template.” But Munro knows champions France away is a stern test and added: “There is a bit of fear factor because they are so much bigger, powerful and aggressive.
“They can pass the ball wide like Ireland, but they can really take you on up front and I think it will be a tough contest.”
scotland: Chloe Rollie (Murrayfield Wands; Megan Gaffney (Edinburgh Univ), Lisa Thomson (Edinburgh Univ), Lisa Martin(Murrayfield Wands), Rhona Lloyd (Edinburgh Univ); Helen Nelson (Murrayfield Wands), Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wands/Edinburgh Univ); Tracy Balmer (Worcester), Lana Skeldon (Hill-Jord), Lindsey Smith (Hill-Jord), Emma Wassell (Murrayfield Wands), Deborah McCormack (Aylesford Bulls), Karen Dunbar (RHC Cougars), Louise McMillan (Hill-Jord), Jade Konkel (Hill-Jord). Subs: Lucy Park (Murrayfield Wands), Heather Lockhart (Hill-Jord), Katie Dougan (Edinburgh Univ), Sarah Bonar (Lichfield), Jemma Forsyth (Hill-Jord), Jenny Maxwell (Lichfield), Lauren Harris (Melrose), Eilidh Sinclair (Murrayfield Wands).