It’s Week 4 of the Six Nations and the Red Roses welcome old rivals Scotland to the Twickenham Stoop. The Scots are on a real high after winning their first Six Nations game since 2010 against Wales two weeks ago, a real positive for both the team and women’s rugby. Despite going down to two early tries, they stuck with the Welsh and never gave up, scoring tries of their own and winning the match with a late penalty.
However, the loss of star Number 8 Jade Konkel, whose offload set up one of the Scottish tries two week ago, is a huge blow. She is Scotland’s only full time player and is a battering ram, their go-to runner who’s guaranteed to make metres when she gets the ball. Without her, the Scottish forwards will have to step up and push themselves if they’re to compete with England’s pack.
The Red Roses weren’t altogether convincing in their win against Italy two weeks ago, but with experienced, class players like Danielle Waterman and Amber Reed back in the starting XV, the back-line should be more fluid.
The half-back pairing of Emily Scott and La Toya Mason didn’t overly impress against the Italians, but they have been retained and it is likely that some more time together will have helped their communication. Mason’s kicking game is a good weapon to have, and while Scott is inexperienced and at times struggled to get the back-line moving against Italy, the wealth of experience around her in the likes of Emily Scarratt, Waterman and Reed will help her decision-making.
In the forwards, blindside flanker Alex Matthews is retained after a barnstorming display two weeks ago, while established lock pairing Tamara Taylor and Harriet Millar-Mills will look to continue their improved consistency at the line-out. Both were very strong against Italy, Millar-Mills’ attacking in particular a stand-out feature of the game.
After the success of the rolling maul against the Italians, the Red Roses will surely look to use it again this week. However, they will want to tighten up the rest of their game and play more clinically after a number of unforced errors blighted the game against the Italians. Discipline will also be key, as England gave away a number of penalties and received two cards in their last game, and Scotland aren’t going to pass up opportunities to keep the scoreboard ticking over with penalty kicks.
While Scotland are sure to be on a high after their win against Wales, England have too much power and organisation and should record their fourth win of the campaign.
Kick off: Saturday 11th March @ 1pm, Twickenham Stoop
How to watch: Live on englandrugby.com. Sky Sports 3, coverage delayed until 8am on Sunday
Wales v Ireland – Saturday 11th March at Cardiff Arms Park – KO 11:30 GMT – Live on BBC Wales and RTE
Italy v France – Sunday 12th March at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi – KO 15:00 local (14:00 GMT) – Live on France 4 and Eurosport IT