Scotland ready for "critical" qualifier

(IRB.COM) Friday 19 April 2013
 Scotland ready for "critical" qualifier
Scotland lost 8-0 to Italy in the Six Nations and will hope to avenge that defeat in the qualifier - Photo: Scottish Rugby / SNS

On paper Scotland’s results in the last two Women’s Six Nations Championships have been disappointing with no victories and only 15 points scored across the 10 matches that formed part of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 qualification process.

However coach Karen Findlay is quick to dispel such talk and, aside from the 76-0 losses to both France and England away from home, believes the 2013 Championship provided many positives for her developing side to take into the six-team WRWC 2014 qualifier in Madrid from 20-27 April.

“I think everything has got to be put in perspective. The team is putting in a huge amount of effort and the results against France and England clearly were not what we wanted them to be,” Findlay told Total Rugby Radio.

“However, the results and the way the team performed against Italy, Ireland and Wales was extremely competitive and I think the opposition involved in those games would say that as well.

“We are not a million miles off the mark in terms of some of the competitors we play in the Six Nations, without a shadow of doubt the performances that England and France both put in at their home territory was really effective and the scorelines reflected that.

“The side that is now developing are focused on the task here (in Madrid). Their focus is to try and do themselves justice and get the results that they came so close to getting against two or three of those sides in the Six Nations.

Positive strengths

“I think one of the key strengths of this side is they have always known they are a developing side and they are trying to build in terms of getting game time, game experience and game management.

“They are a really tight squad, their attitude and their effort level I cannot fault, and they are very, very focused on the job they have got to do to get Scotland into a World Cup qualifying position.

“You can’t fault the work ethic and the team that is here, their commitment is excellent, they are actually a real joy to coach and be involved with. They are real positive strengths and I guess sometimes when everybody else is doubting their ability and are they committed enough and do they want it enough it makes you a really tight unit within.

“It is now just about getting on and doing themselves justice.”

Scotland flew out to Madrid on Tuesday to acclimatise and Findlay hopes the early arrival will give them “a bit of an edge” over their rivals as her side prepares for critical qualifying matches against the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden.

Qualification is "critical"

Missing out on a Women’s Rugby World Cup for the first time is not an option for Findlay.

“I think in terms of the management team, the players and for the Women’s Game as a whole in Scotland nobody is in any doubt that it (qualification) is critical,” admitted Findlay.

“Scotland have never not qualified for a World Cup so we don’t want that happening just now in terms of providing a platform for our young girls to be playing this sport and see this sport as a good and healthy one to be involved in.

“In terms of the development and the health of the Women’s Game overall it is absolutely critical that we try to secure World Cup qualification. I can assure everyone we are in no doubt about the importance of the job here.

“We are just going to play game on game, so our first job and we are very focused on that is we are going to be playing the Netherlands. Once we get past that we will start thinking about the next job.

“I think it is a very exciting tournament, everybody here is going to be focused on trying to achieve the same goal.”