Squads named for first round of Celtic Challenge play-offs | Preview

Squads named for first round of Celtic Challenge play-offs | Preview

Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors have named their sides in the first of the Celtic Challenge play-off rounds.

Edinburgh Rugby v Irish Wolfhounds

Scotland international Rhona Lloyd is one of two potential debuts from the Edinburgh bench as Head Coach Claire Cruikshank named a settled side for their vital encounter with Irish Wolfhounds at Hive Stadium tomorrow (kick off 1pm).

An unchanged back three is named, with Cardiff Met’s Nicole Marlow at full-back, flanked by Edinburgh University wing duo of Cieron Bell and Nicole Flynn.

Briar McNamara returns to the capital midfield at inside centre, partnering Scotland Women’s player of the year Emma Orr.

Captain Sarah Denholm starts in the 10 jersey, having played every minute of the tournament, alongside scrum-half Jenny Maxwell at half back.

Edinburgh University’s Millie Whitehouse retains her starting position at hooker, with Panashe Muzambe and Katie Lindsay getting the nod at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively.

Fiona McIntosh moves into the starting line-up at lock alongside Corsotophine Cougars’ Adelle Ferrie, the duo starting together for the first time.

Cruikshank has selected an unchanged back-row, with Corstorphine Cougars flanker pairing of Merryn Gunderson and vice-captain Alex Stewart once again joined by Watsonians FC number eight Freya Walker.

Alongside Lloyd, Zoe Turner could also make her debut for the club from the bench.

On the match, Cruikshank said: “Our target, once we started to play some games, was to get in the top three.

“We didn’t set that out at the start, so to get into the top three and to be in the major playoffs is a huge success for us. We’re super excited about what’s to come over the next few weeks.

“Tomorrow is another exciting challenge against a tough side that have gone unbeaten, so we’ll need to be at the top of our game infront of the Edinburgh fans at Hive Stadium.”

Scotland winger Rhona Lloyd could make her debut from the bench, as could Corstorphine Cougars scrum-half Zoe Turner – with both named in the matchday squad for the first time.

Edinburgh Rugby squad to face the Irish Wolfhounds at Hive Stadium (Saturday 17 February, kick-off 1pm) – live on BBC iPlayer and RugbyPass TV.

15. Nicole Marlow (Cardiff Met)

14. Nicole Flynn (University of Edinburgh)
13. Emma Orr (Heriot’s/Biggar RFC)
12. Briar McNamara (Watsonian FC)
11. Cieron Bell (University of Edinburgh)

10. Sarah Denholm CAPTAIN (University of Edinburgh)
9. Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning)

1. Panashe Muzambe (Exeter Chiefs)
2. Millie Whitehouse (University of Edinburgh)
3. Katie Lindsay (Corstorphine Cougars)
4. Fiona McIntosh (Saracens)
5. Adelle Ferrie (Corstorphine Cougars)
6. Merryn Gunderson (Corstorphine Cougars)
7. Alex Stewart VICE-CAPTAIN (Corstorphine Cougars)
8. Freya Walker (Watsonian FC)


16. Aila Ronald (University of Edinburgh)
17. Poppy Fletcher (University of Edinburgh)
18. Molly Poolman (Watsonian FC)
19. Nathasha Logan (University of Edinburgh)
20. Gemma Bell (Hartpury University)
21. Zoe Turner (Corstorphine Cougars)
22. Hannah Ramsay (Corstorphine Cougars)
23. Rhona Lloyd (GB Sevens)

Glasgow Warriors v Brython Thunder

Coreen Grant and Priya Crawford are set to make their Glasgow Warriors debuts after being named in Head Coach Chris Laidlaw’s squad to face Brython Thunder tomorrow (kick off 4.30pm).

An unchanged front-row sees Ailie Tucker and Chloe Brown continue as the starting props, with Nikki Simpson packing down at hooker in a trio that produced an impressive showing in the last meeting between the two sides.

Sophie Anderson returns to the matchday squad to line up in the second-row, partnering West of Scotland product Ellie Williamson in an all-new partnership in the engine room.

The back-row trio continues as a unit for the second match in succession, as Holland Bogan and Izzy Hannay start either side of number eight Megan Hyland.

Rhea Clarke captains the side from scrum-half, alongside the ever-present Ceitidh Ainsworth, the Stirling County fly-half having started every match in the competition to date.

Giselle Chicot and Claudia McLaren continue their partnership in the midfield, the pair having dove-tailed to good effect against the Thunder in Colwyn Bay a fortnight ago.

Grant is selected on the wing after an agreed release from her Premiership Women’s Rugby club, Saracens, whilst Lucy MacRae shifts to full-back in a back-three completed by Roma Fraser, scorer of a spectacular brace last time out.

Speaking following selection, Head Coach Chris Laidlaw told glasgowwarriors.org: “The group have really applied themselves well over the last couple of weeks, as we prepare to go out and compete hard in the last two weeks of the competition.

“Coreen has slotted in really well this week in training, and we’re excited to see how she goes. Priya, too, has shown up really well – to have the experience within the programme and potentially make her debut is a credit to her and we’re looking forward to seeing her run on for the first time.

“To be part of the first-ever club double-header as we celebrate Club of Origin night is massively exciting for everyone in the group, and at the club – we can’t wait to run out tomorrow in front of a big crowd and give everyone a performance to cheer.”

Glasgow Warriors team to take on Brython Thunder at Scotstoun, Saturday 17 February, kick-off 4.30pm. Tickets available at glasgowwarriors.org.

1 Ailie Tucker
2 Nikki Simpson
3 Chloe Brown
4 Sophie Anderson
5 Ellie Williamson
6 Holland Bogan
7 Izzy Hannay
8 Megan Hyland

9 Rhea Clarke (C)
10 Ceitidh Ainsworth
11 Roma Fraser
12 Giselle Chicot
13 Claudia McLaren
14 Coreen Grant
15 Lucy MacRae


16 Kaylee Fraser
17 Demi Swann
18 Debbie Lee
19 Eve Thomson
20 Lucy Winter
21 Alex Love
22 Priya Crawford
23 Carla McDonald

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