Scotland try v France pic
Bryan Easson insisted Scotland are a ‘team who are going places’ after they were narrowly beaten by France in Round 2 of the 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

Scotland got one historical monkey off their backs last weekend with a first win in Wales for two decades and were 40 minutes away from doing likewise against Les Bleues.

Elis Martin’s try saw the hosts go into the interval with a 5-3 lead against a side they have not beaten since 2010 and the bumper crowd inside The Hive dared to dream.

Tries from Kelly Arbey and Emeline Gros ultimately saw France run out 15-5 winners but having been beaten 55-0 by the same opponents last year, this was the latest sign of the progress Scotland have made in the time since.

An eighth straight win may have eluded them but their head coach was left full of pride.

“It was encouraging in so many ways,” he said.

“I thought defensively we put our bodies on the line, I thought our lineout defence was outstanding, we put them under pressure.

“We knew what to expect with France and I thought we pressurised them all the way.

“I just felt it was so hard on the girls, they deserved a bonus point because you can see them picking each other up off the floor in the 81st and 82nd minute.

“That is a group that is going places. When you look at the team that have just competed against the third best team in the world and are genuinely disappointed, it shows we are going places.

“We are a team that is going in that really good direction.”

Easson reserved particular praise for Martin, who marked her first Scotland start by getting off the mark for her country.

It came courtesy of a rolling maul which put the powerful French pack on the back foot while the second half saw the hooker have to make a swift return to the field when her replacement, Molly Wright, was stretchered off within minutes of coming on.

“We took her off after 50, she had really emptied her tank,” Easson said.

“I have seen Molly [Wright] walking around and I’m glad to see she is ok. But Elis only got a 30 second rest and then she was on again so she played 80 minutes and put a real shift in.

“She should be really proud of herself.”

A further test of Scotland’s improvement arrives in a fortnight’s time when reigning champions England arrive in Edinburgh.

The Red Roses won last year’s meeting 58-7 – and were victorious by a similar scoreline on their last visit north of the border – but Easson is confident a tighter contest awaits this time around.

“We talk about relentlessness, we talk about heart, we talk about working for each other,” he said.

“We have England here next, we know it is a sell-out and will be capacity here, and I know we will put in another performance that will make us all proud.

“The crowd were amazing, the noise was outstanding and they pushed us all the way.

“The girls will be proud of themselves, there is disappointment and rightly so because we have gone toe-to-toe with the one of the best teams in the world, but we are coming.”