Scotland have gained several notable scalps over the last couple of years in the Women’s Six Nations, a trend that they will no-doubt look to continue when this year’s Championship gets underway.
A 15-12 triumph in Ireland last year marked a landmark win away from home, while a pair of victories in 2017 saw them claim a fourth-place finish in the final standings – a result they will attempt to build on this time around.
Scotland fell to defeats at the hands of Canada and Six Nations rivals Italy in the autumn, while they were edged out by Spain in a recent friendly – but spirited performances across all three fixtures provide a healthy platform to build on.
With that in mind, here are three players who could be key as Scotland prepare for the visit of Italy on February 1.
A reliable player, Martin has been a mainstay in the international set-up since making her debut against Ireland at the 2010 Rugby World Cup.
She led Scotland to their best Women’s Six Nations finish in seven years at the 2017 Championship, before bossing the midfield during the side’s win in Ireland 12 months later.
Named one of Scotland’s eight 2021 contracted players, Martin plays her domestic rugby for LMRVC in France, alongside international teammate Chloe Rollie, after making the move ahead of the 2018/19 season.
A former Scotland 7s star, Martin is possessing of pace and guile with the ball in hand and invaluable experience that could prove crucial for Shade Munro’s side.
The aforementioned Rollie is another of Scotland’s eight contracted players, and similarly plies her trade in France with LMRVC.
The talented full-back made her Scotland debut in their 2015 Six Nations opener against France and has kept a tight hold on the 15 jersey ever since.
Three tries in last year’s Championship pegs her as a palpable threat, with teammates and opponents alike well aware of her attacking threat.
A standout display in Scotland’s recent friendly with Spain – where she notched a try and an assist – suggests she has once again hit top form at the perfect time for her country.
Another of the nation’s contracted players, captain Thomson’s rise over the last couple of years has been astronomical.
Making her debut against England in the 2016 Championship, the dynamic centre took the step up to international rugby in her stride.
Domestically, Thomson was another of the Scottish stars who spent time in Lille but made her move back this season to Darlington Mowden Park Sharks in the Tyrrells Premier 15s, where she has further underlined her class.
Just 21-years-old, Thomson is an old head on young shoulders, her leadership skills highlighted when she was named as captain for Scotland’s autumn Tests, and will be desperate to deliver for Scotland again in Rugby’s Greatest Championship.