Philip Doyle on Scotland Women’s win in South Africa
After his team secured a 5-47 win over Springboks Women, Scotland Women Head Coach Philip Doyle reflected on his first match in charge.
He’s not a stranger to the role of Head Coach of an international side but it is fair to say that yesterday was a different occasion for Philip Doyle.
It was his first match in charge of Scotland Women, on their first tour, and the side’s first ever match in the southern hemisphere.
Reflecting on the match and the victory against South Africa, Doyle said: “Personally, I couldn’t be happier but I know from experience that this is the start and there are many more hurdles to come.
“When you come into a squad as a new Head Coach, there is a certain amount of pressure on you and the philosophy that you are trying to build with players and management. You don’t know until the first match if it is going to suit the squad. One big satisfaction for me is that now everyone can see what I am trying to do.
“Now we are in a fantastic situation of being one up in this two-Test series. But, how are we going to handle this and where do we go from here?”
Performance wise, Scotland Women put away an impressive performance, beating the hosts 5-47. This was one of the side’s biggest victories in a decade as well as being their first match in the southern hemisphere.
Doyle said on the result: “There were some great individual performances, but they all came from great set piece. Especially the line-outs. I was a little bit worried about our line-outs as our main focus has been the scrum recently.
“We have some great backs, some quick backs and I said from day one that we want to play wide if we can. If we can earn the right to play wide, we should and that is exactly where we attacked South Africa on the edges. The girls just saw it, acted on it and got the ball there and cut them well.”
Looking ahead to the second Test on Saturday, Doyle explained what the priorities will be as a team. “We will be looking at a little bit of defence to be honest. We were a little but rusty and we got caught a couple of times. We did have a fantastic five minutes just before half time. We held them out and it was a really powerful moment in the game.
“Some of the girls were really buzzed up coming into the changing rooms. But yes, a little bit of a defence generally and we can always work on developing our scrum.
“We just have to shore up a couple of small little things. It will be really interesting coming back now. Can we put this to bed? Can we get a second win on tour? It is going to be a big ask.
“You look back on the score line and think yes, it is quite big, but it will be really hard for the squad to do it again. It will be really interesting to see how they react as it is really hard to put back-to-back wins in, especially abroad.
“That in a nutshell has to be our main focus, focussing totally on ourselves.”
Scotland Women will play South Africa in the second test match of their tour on Saturday at 3pm (local time, 2pm BST) at City Park Ground, Athlone, Cape Town. Watch the match live at scottishrugby.org
Photography credit: Khulani Media