Tall order for Scots to reach World Cup last four

SCOTLAND'S slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the 2010 Women's World Cup for the first time rest on this afternoon's televised clash with France at Surrey Sports Park.

Coach Gary Parker has shuffled his side after the 37-10 loss to Canada in the opening match on Friday with a handful of positional changes. The Canadians are highly-ranked and since losing to Scotland in the 1994 World Cup have won every meeting since. They were also clear favourites to top the pool, but Parker believed that his side should have done better and knows that the failure to secure a bonus point could prove costly when it comes to semi-final qualification.

He said: "We had the majority of ball against Canada - the stats bear that out - but we missed too many tackles and didn't capitalise on possession.

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"We've looked long and hard at where we made our mistakes and every member of the team has put in the work on and off the field over the last few days to improve their game."

Captain Lynne Reid remains in charge for Scotland's first televised match of the tournament (2pm live on Sky), but openside flanker Ruth Slaven moves from the bench to the starting XV, Veronica Fitzpatrick steps into centre from the wing, replacing Suzi Newton, and Lynsey Douglas comes onto the wing. Up front Susie Brown moves from No 8 to second row, in place of Gilly McCord, Donna Kennedy takes over at No 8 for her 112th cap, and winger Katy Green and second row Louise Moffat come on to the bench with scrum-half Sarah Gill ruled out injured.

Scotland now need to win their remaining games against France and Sweden (on Saturday) with bonus points, so must score at least four tries in each game, to have a realistic chance of pipping one of England, the USA, Australia or New Zealand - all of whom opened with five-point wins - to the fourth semi-final spot. If they fail to achieve that, but still win their remaining games they will contest the fifth-to-eighth rankings, having finished fifth or sixth in all previous tournaments.

Scotland (v France at Surrey Sports Park, 2pm): N Halfpenny (Melrose); C Hawthorn (Edinburgh University), L Millard (Team Northumbria), V Fitzpatrick (Royal High Cougars), L Douglas (London Wasps); E Kerr (Wasps), L Dalgliesh (Royal High Cougars); H Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill), S Walker (Watsonians), B Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), S Brown (Richmond), L Wheeler (Darlington Mowden Park), L Reid (Royal High Cougars) capt, R Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), D Kennedy (Worcester). Subs: G McCord (Royal High Cougars), A Macdonald (Royal High Cougars), L Moffat (Murrayfield Wanderers), R Murphy (Edinburgh University), T Griffith (Royal High Cougars), S Johnston (Hillhead/Jordanhill), K Green (Murrayfield Wanderers).

Referee: D Keane (Ireland)

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