Scotland Women extended training squad announced ahead of WXV
Scotland Women Head Coach, Bryan Easson, has announced an extended training squad ahead of the new global competition, WXV, getting underway in October, along with confirming the appointment of Matt Banahan as Attack Coach.
The 32-player squad, comprising 16 forwards and 16 backs, will convene in camp today for a six-week block of training sessions, culminating in a warm-up fixture against Spain at Hive Stadium on Saturday 30 September (kick-off 5.45pm).
Loughborough Lightning duo Rachel Malcolm and Helen Nelson will once again take on the roles as captain and vice-captain respectively.
Nikki Simpson and Holly McIntyre earn a call-up to the training squad, with both players impressing in the Celtic Challenge competition and Scottish Futures programme earlier this year, while Lisa Cockburn, Jenny Maxwell, Sarah Bonar and Emma Wasssell return to the fold following lengthy injury spells.
GB 7s players Lisa Thomson, Rhona Lloyd and Shona Campbell also return to the squad, with the trio securing Olympic 2024 qualification earlier this summer.
Easson said: “Following the end of the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, we were in a positive place and we used last season to unearth some new caps and give opportunities to younger players such as Francesca McGhie, Meryl Smith and Elliann Clarke.
“We’ve also got experienced players returning this season such as Emma Wassell, Jenny Maxwell, Jade Konkel, Lisa Cockburn and Sarah Bonar which is really exciting for us.”
Scottish Rugby has also today announced the appointment of Matt Banahan as Scotland Women Assistant Coach.
The former internationalist will join the coaching set-up as Attack Coach, with the winger amassing 16 caps and four tries for England from 2009 until 2011.
During his 12-year tenure with Bath, Banahan made 264 appearances and his impressive try-scoring form saw him record 100 tries for the club, before finishing his playing career at Gloucester.
Speaking of his appointment, Banahan said: “I’m really excited to join the Scotland Women programme.
“I’ve been seeing the growth of the women’s game and from my experience of playing for so many years, along with my coaching experience, I thought there was no better place to pursue my coaching career.
“I’ve coached in academy programmes and with other teams and I thought this was the perfect progression to pass on knowledge from where my passion stems from.
Easson added: “We got to a really good place last season with Chris [Laidlaw] and I’m really pleased with the way that he developed our attacking game. Chris has since made the decision to give his full focus to his role as Performance Development Coach in the pathway system and we wish him all the best.
“We wanted to bring in someone in with that same kind of ilk, who has recently been involved in the game from a playing perspective and has the energy and rugby knowledge to take the players to the next level.
Scottish Rugby’s Technical and Operations Director, Stevie Gemmell, said: “It’s fantastic to appoint a recent former international player who has cut his teeth in coaching through the academy system.
“This appointment demonstrates the attraction in being involved in our women’s programme and we look forward to seeing how Matt can progress our attacking game on the back of some promising performances during the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations championship.”
In preparation for the tournament, Scotland host Spain at Hive Stadium in Edinburgh on Saturday 30 September (kick-off 5.45pm). Match tickets are on sale now on scottishrugbytickets.com. To secure the best seats for all three of Scotland’s home games this season, secure your season pass now HERE.
Scotland Women Extended Training Squad
Leah Bartlett (Leicester Tigers)
Christine Belisle (Loughborough Lightning)
Sarah Bonar (Harlequins)
Elliann Clarke (Bristol Bears)
Lisa Cockburn (University of Worcester Warriors)
Eva Donaldson (Leicester Tigers)
Evie Gallagher (University of Worcester Warriors)
Jade Konkel (Harlequins)
Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning) CAPTAIN
Elis Martin (Leicester Tigers)
Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks)
Louise McMillan (Saracens)
Lana Skeldon (University of Worcester Warriors)
Nikki Simpson (Garioch)
Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning)
Anne Young (Sale Sharks)
Beth Blacklock (Saracens)
Shona Campbell (GB 7s)
Coreen Grant (Saracens)
Caity Mattinson (University of Worcester Warriors)
Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning)
Mairi McDonald (Exeter Chiefs)
Francesca McGhie (Leicester Tigers)
Holly McIntyre (University of Edinburgh)
Rhona Lloyd (GB 7s / Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais)
Liz Musgrove (Ealing Trailfinders)
Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning) VICE-CAPTAIN
Emma Orr (Heriots / Biggar)
Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning)
Eilidh Sinclair (Exeter Chiefs)
Meryl Smith (Bristol Bears)
Lisa Thomson (GB 7s)