A spicy internal training session on Wednesday has left the Scotland squad in a good place to combat Wales’ physicality on Saturday in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations.
That is according to head coach Bryan Easson who is hopeful that the home attendance record of 3,988 can be broken at the DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh to help roar his team on to a much-needed triumph.
While there were positives in round one of the competition against England last weekend in Newcastle, in particular the performances of some of the young players, it was still a 58-7 loss.
And, in the bigger picture, it was Scotland’s 10th Test defeat in a row.
The Welsh edged out Scotland twice last year while Ioan Cunningham’s side began this Six Nations with a 31-5 bonus point victory over Ireland.
Tenth in the world Scotland did beat eighth in the world Wales in this tournament in 2021 at Scotstoun and they will be hoping home advantage can make the difference once again.
The Scots are also looking to bring more physicality to the party up front to offset the continued absences of key injured forwards Molly Wright, Emma Wassell, Sarah Bonar and Jade Konkel-Roberts.
They want to ruffle Wales’ feathers and while naming an unchanged matchday 23 on Thursday, Easson told TRU: "This week has been the most physical [level that] we have trained [at] in a long time. We now have 30 or so players training with us on a regular basis and on Wednesday we went full on 15 versus 15 and it was quite spicy.
"That Wednesday one was one of the best sessions that we have had in terms of physicality. It was a real physical day and I think that, along with a good recovery day on Monday post-England and a good training day focusing on speed on Tuesday, it has put us in a good position.
"We work hard with our sport science department to see how best we can make sure the players are fresh going into game day, but we also want it to be physical through the week so that we can be physical in the match.
“If we put together everything we have done this week [in the game] then I think we will be in a good place.
"The performance is the most important thing, it’ll be a tight game. We want the players to play with freedom”
While Easson wants his players to be physical and get on the front foot, he also wants them to play with no fear as they continue to evolve their attack under new specialist coach Chris Laidlaw.
"The way we have trained this week, it has been about taking pressure off the players. We want them to play with freedom and we don’t want to stifle them,” he explained.
"We have some really exciting young players who want to showcase what they are all about and there is no better place for them to do that than at home."
Earlier in the training week, the Scotland squad also had input from Scottish Rugby employees Scott Lawson (throwing), Chris Paterson (kicking) and Gary Strain (scrum) and no stone has been left unturned for what is if not a ‘must win’ game, then one they are looking to gain momentum from.
A lot of the headlines, rightly, after the Wales-Ireland game went to player of the match Sisilia Tuipulotu.
The youngster has a big future ahead of her, but Scotland too have tightheads in the shape of starter Christine Belisle and replacement Elliann Clarke who are improving and will want to show their worth this weekend.
"We know that CB [Belisle] two or three years ago was a second-row/back-row and she has transferred into a starting tighthead,” Easson said about his Canada-born number three.
“She has been playing well at Loughborough, she played well last week and she is a real energiser around the group.
"When she is ‘on it’ everyone looks up to her and she can be influential to the way we train and play. Elliann is really pushing her, she is a young tighthead who is really coming on and in her first action last week stole the ball from Poppy Cleall. She dug in at scrum time and her lineout work was good."
For Wales, Gwen Crabb is out injured, so Georgia Evans moves into the second-row with Sioned Harries coming into the back-row at No.8, meaning Bethan Lewis shifts to six. The backline is unchanged.
Aforementioned head coach Ioan Cunningham said: “We know it will be a tough challenge, Scotland will still be hurting after our victory at the World Cup against them and while it was one of the best performances we have produced as a team [against Ireland] there are plenty of areas to improve on."
the best performances we have produced as a team [against Ireland] there are plenty of areas to improve on."