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'We’ve probably never been in this scenario with Scotland before'

By PA
Jess Breach speaks to Sarah Hunter during a England Red Roses Training Session at Pennyhill Park on April 09, 2024 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Jess Breach insists England enter unknown territory when they meet a rapidly improving Scotland in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations on Saturday.

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The Red Roses have not lost in the fixture since suffering an 8-5 defeat in 1998 but that record faces its sternest test yet at a sold-out Hive Stadium in Edinburgh, where a record crowd of 7,774 will be attendance.

Scotland toppled Wales in Cardiff in round one before being edged by France a week later and, having won the WXV 2 tournament in October, there is evidence the 28 professional contracts awarded at the end of 2022 are raising standards.

England remain favourites but wing Breach insists the element of jeopardy is good for the Red Rose and the Six Nations.

“It is going to be a really competitive game. And we’ve probably never been in this scenario with Scotland before,” said Breach, who has won on all 35 of her caps.

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“Everyone’s really excited because it’s going to be challenging for us. Hopefully we can showcase really good rugby for the fans.

“It’s great for the competition. You can see that every nation is getting better after being contracted.

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“Italy put up a great fight against us in the first half, so it just shows that if money is pumped into the game and players are allowed to go full time, the Six Nations gets better.”

Demonstrating the growth of women’s rugby is that Scotland’s victory 26 years ago was staged at an independent school in Edinburgh, compared to a packed Hive Stadium in 2024.

“It feels like we’re growing and heading in the right direction. Every nation wants big crowds,” Breach said.

“That’s happening at the moment and heading into the 2025 World Cup we should be able to sell most stadiums out. It’s exciting and who doesn’t want to be part of women’s rugby?”

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Abe 2 hours ago
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Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

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Turlough 6 hours ago
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