New opportunities ahead for Scotland Women: WXV explained

New opportunities ahead for Scotland Women: WXV explained

What is WXV?

Scotland Women are about to embark on an exciting journey this season, filled with new opportunities and a new competition as World Rugby launch the new three-tier annual global women’s international 15s tournament, WXV.

WXV aims to transform the international landscape, with the tournament providing a cohesive pathway for all unions and a competitive qualification route towards an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup in 2025.

Scotland secured their spot in the second tier of the competition, WXV 2, after finishing fourth in the recent TikTok Women’s Six Nations championship, following back-to-back wins against Italy and Ireland.

How does it work?

World Rugby have published an explainer video which gives and overview of the new competition and explains the promotion and relegation within WXV 2 and WXV 3.

Where will host WXV 2?

Cape Town in South Africa will play host to the six-team second level WXV 2 with matches being played across the weekends of 14, 21 and 28 October. Both competitions will be played in a cross-pool format.

Scotland will play their first match against South Africa at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, with the opening weekend marking the first time that women’s tests will be played at the stadium.

The remaining two matches against USA and Japan will be played at Athlone Sports Stadium, which hosted the semi-finals and final of this year’s U20 World Championship.

Who has been selected in the squad?

Scotland Women Head Coach Bryan Easson has selected his 30-player squad for the tournament in Cape Town.

Easson has selected two uncapped players, with Saracens’ lock Fiona McIntosh and Worcester Warriors’ prop Demi Swann looking to make their debut during the tournament.

Evie Wills, Jenny Maxwell, Holly McIntyre, Molly Wright and Shona Campbell were ruled out of contention for the tournament due to injury.

Forwards: Leah Bartlett, Christine Belisle, Elliann Clarke, Lisa Cockburn, Demi Swann, Anne Young, Elis Martin, Lana Skeldon, Sarah Bonar, Eva Donaldson, Fiona McIntosh, Louise McMillan, Emma Wassell, Evie Gallagher, Jade Konkel, Rachel Malcolm (captain), Rachel McLachlan.

Backs: Caity Mattinson, Mairi McDonald, Helen Nelson, Beth Blacklock, Coreen Grant, Sarah Law, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Meryl Smith, Rhona Lloyd, Francesca McGhie, Liz Musgrove, Chloe Rollie.

 Who are Scotland’s opponents?

 Scotland have been drawn in Pool A and will face South Africa, Japan and USA over the three weekends.

Hosts, South Africa, cruised their way to the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup Division 1 2023 title and WXV 2 qualification in May, after defeating Madagascar 79-8 in the last round of the competition.

Japan will head into the competition feeling buoyed by recent victories in their tour to Spain, with the side completing the summer with a 2-0 series win. Scotland last faced Japan in November 2021, with the hosts running in six tries to record an emphatic 36-12 victory at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh.

USA will be looking to make amends following a disappointing run of results in the Pacific Four competition, seeing the side finish fourth following defeats against Australia, Black Ferns and Canada.

Photo credit: World Rugby

Scotland Women Head Coach, Bryan Easson, said: “It’s really exciting to play against teams that you traditionally don’t play against too often. We’ve got three fantastic teams as our opponents and it’s a great opportunity to test ourselves against different playing styles that are outside of our usual Six Nations counterparts.

“We played Japan two years ago at Hive Stadium in what was a really tough but exciting fixture. The red card that Japan received during that game really changed the momentum and we were able to make the most of that numerical advantage and ultimately secure a 36-12 win.

“We played two tests in Cape Town back in 2019 against South Africa and they have made huge inroads since then, with the union really taking on the women’s team and making some positive progress in their performances. They’ve got some real talent within that squad, with a number of players featuring in the Premiership in England, so it should be a really exciting fixture against the hosts.

“USA have been a top-five side in the world for a long time now and were unfortunate in their recent Pacific Four campaign. We played them in August last year ahead of the Rugby World Cup and that was a game that got away from us and that we were disappointed in the result so we will be raring for the challenge to really test ourselves against the side once again.”

What are the fixtures?

Where can I watch Scotland’s games?

Scotland’s fixtures will be broadcast on RugbyPass TV, create your free account HERE

What does the rest of Scotland’s season look like?

Scotland hosted Spain on Saturday 30 September at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh as part of their preparations for WXV, with the hosts claiming a 36-5 victory in front of vocal home support.

Following WXV, next on the agenda for Scotland will be the 2024 Women’s Six Nations championship, with the side taking on France (Sat 30 March) and England (Sat 13 April) at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh.

Tickets and two-match packages for Scotland’s two home fixtures in the 2024 Women’s Six Nations are on sale now HERE

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