Preview: USA v Scotland
Scotland will take on USA today (Friday 20 October) at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town as they look to continue the positive start to their WXV 2 campaign (kick-off 1pm UK time / 2pm local time) – live on RugbyPass TV.
Scotland Women Head Coach, Bryan Easson, has made no changes to the starting line-up from the side’s 31-17 victory against South Africa in their opening WXV match, giving his players another chance to put in a solid performance against USA.
World Rugby’s new global women’s competition, 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.
Ahead of this afternoon’s match against USA, we take an in-depth look at Scotland’s opponents and the Eagles’ season so far.
In-depth focus: USA
There have only been six previous encounters between the sides, with Scotland having last faced USA just over a year ago as part of their preparations for the Rugby World Cup 2021.
USA claimed a narrow 17-21 victory, courtesy of a brace of tries from Hope Rogers, along with a try from captain Kate Zackary, with Scotland scoring through Lana Skeldon and Rhona Lloyd.
Out of the six previous fixtures, Scotland have been victorious in only one encounter in 2001, recording a 22-3 win at Meggetland in Edinburgh.
The USA’s opening WXV win against Samoa ended the Eagles’ four-match losing run and was their first win since they beat Spain 20-14 in their opening test of the year.
The side compete in the annual World Rugby Pacific Four competition alongside New Zealand, Australia and Canada, but the side struggled to get a foothold in the 2023 tournament and finished bottom of the standings, resulting in the side claiming a spot in the second tier of WXV.
Scotland Assistant Coach, Martin Haag, worked with USA last year as a consultant during the Rugby World Cup. Speaking to media earlier this week, Haag said: “I just came in as a short-term consultant for August, a couple of camps in Atlanta then the matches against Scotland and England, and then the Rugby World Cup.
“I think they still have the same qualities. They’re a very athletic team, but they’ve had new interim coaches come in. If you look at the way they played against Samoa, they probably ran the ball a little bit more than previously, but they’re very athletic, very strong, physical, they have a decent set-piece. They’ve got a lot of new faces, there’s some old ones as well that give them that stability that I would have worked with.”
Having worked with both captains involved in today’s match [Rachel Malcolm and Kate Zackary], Haag spoke highly of his experience with both leaders, adding: “I think they’re amazing, both of them. Every team needs good leaders, and we’re lucky that Rachel has good leaders around her who are starting to flourish and help, but as individuals Rachel and Kate are phenomenal players, but when they talk they just command the respect of the room and I’m so impressed how much people really listen to them when they’re talking, and that’s the sign of a good leader.”