Scotland Women second-row Deborah McCormack believes there has been a mindset shift in the current group as new and exciting players enter the mix and help drive momentum.
A fortnight ago, Scotland Women staged a remarkable comeback against Wales, coming from 0-14 down to win 15-14 – ending a seven year Six Nations drought.
Up next is England in the penultimate round of the 2017 Championship at Twickenham Stoop and the 32-year-old, who has 22 international caps, believes she has seen a shift in attitude and momentum in the women’s set-up.
“We’ve had a big shift in players and quite a young squad,” she said.
“I’ve seen the change now when we get scored against, it’s not a kind of ‘here we go again’ attitude it’s more like ‘right next job – what can we do to get back into this’, so it’s a completely different mindset.
“The rate at which [the younger girls in the team] pick things up is great, they’ve really stepped up on the international stage. It would be so easy for them to step back because they’ve not had that exposure before but I’ve been really impressed.”
McCormack has seen a progression in her own game too, and says this is namely down to the partnership she has formed with fellow second row Emma Wassell and Head Coach Shade Munro.
“I’ve played all my internationals with Emma. I think in the first season she was quite young so she didn’t start every game but we have played every cap together at some point.
“Obviously having Shade as a second row as well helps, we have a quite a tight little group together. Shade has worked really hard with us at the set piece – especially lineouts. You can see the progression over the past couple of years, it’s a real weapon for us now and a platform that our backs can play off.”
Born in Gillingham, McCormack qualifies to play for Scotland through her grandmother. She played under former Scotland head coach Karen Findlay at Richmond Ladies, who suggested she trialed for Scotland.
“I told my nan and she was shocked but urged me to get on the plane and head to the trials as soon as possible,” McCormack said.
“When people ask me if there was much thought that went into the decision I can’t say anything other than it just fit – I just knew.”
McCormack plays her club rugby in the English Premiership for Aylesford Bulls and is familiar with a few of the girls in the English side.
“It’s always an advantage, a couple of us play down south and have played and trained with these girls quite regularly so we have an idea of how they play so that can work to our advantage.”
The starting XV has seen two changes with Jade Konkel being unavailable due to injury.
“Obviously we are disappointed Jade’s unavailable but we’ve got a massive bank of players that can step up into her position,” McCormack said.
“Jemma [Forsyth] has played eight before and has experience there so no problems for her. Sarah Bonar is coming up to the back-row, she normally plays second-row but she has great work rate so I think it’s natural for her to be there. We’ve got plenty of players to choose from so there is no deficit.”
Scotland will face England, who are top of the table having won all their games, at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday 11 March (kick-off 1pm) – live on the Women’s Six Nations Facebook and YouTube.
Read the match preview and get up to speed with the squads HERE.