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Matt Banahan takes major step in international coaching career

By Ian Cameron
Valeriy Morozov of Bath hands off the tackle of Matt Banahan of the Barbarians during the friendly match between Bath Rugby and Barbarians at The Recreation Ground on November 20, 2022 in Bath, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Giant former England international Matt Banahan has been confirmed as the new attack coach of Scotland Women by the SRU.

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Head Coach, Bryan Easson, announced the capture of the former Bath and Gloucester winger, as he named an extended training squad ahead of the new global competition, WXV, which gets underway in October.

The hulking 6’7 back, who weighed in excess of 125kg at his heaviest, earned 16 caps and four tries for England between 2009 and 2011.

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“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.

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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.”

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.

FORWARDS:
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)

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BACKS:
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 (Wasps)
Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning) VICE-CAPTAIN
Emma Orr (Heriots / Biggar)
Lisa Thomson (GB 7s)
Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning)
Eilidh Sinclair (Exeter Chiefs)
Meryl Smith (Bristol Bears)

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