Team named for Celtic Challenge debut
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Chris Laidlaw has named the matchday 23 that will make history at Hive Stadium tomorrow lunchtime, as his side prepares to take on Edinburgh in the team’s inaugural match in the Celtic Challenge.
The squad includes eight players that featured for the Scottish Thistles in last season’s edition of the competition, including co-captains Emma Turner and Rhea Clarke, who are both named in the starting XV for tomorrow afternoon’s clash.
Another of the eight returning players can be found packing down in the middle of the front-row, as Garioch hooker Nikki Simpson lines up alongside Ailie Tucker and Eilidh Fleming at the coal face.
Louise McMillan will line up for the Warriors for Saturday’s match, following an agreed release from her Premiership Women’s Rugby club, Saracens, to make her available for the round one fixture, with co-captain Turner partnering the Scotland international in the second-row.
Holland Bogan and Lucy Winter are selected in the back-row a fortnight on from representing Stirling County and Watsonian FC respectively in the Premiership final, with Durham University student Izzy Hannay completing the trio after being added to the squad as a Transitional Player.
A fortnight on from her brace in the Premiership final in Stirling County colours, Ceitidh Ainsworth starts at fly-half, with co-captain and Edinburgh University scrum-half Clarke in the half-backs.
Clarke’s Edinburgh University team-mate Lucy MacRae starts at inside centre, partnering Claudia McLaren in the midfield for the club’s first-ever match in the competition.
A livewire back-three sees Roma Fraser and Sky Phimister – both of whom were involved in last season’s competition – start on the wings, as Izzy McGuire-Evans completes the starting lineup at full-back.
The replacements see three clubs represented amongst the front-row cover, as Karis Craig of Watsonians and Corstorphine Cougars’ Kaylee Fraser line up alongside Hillhead Jordanhill prop Debbie Lee.
Eve Thomson is selected a year on from featuring in last season’s Celtic Challenge, as Sophie Anderson completes the forward contingent on the bench in a five-three split of forwards and backs.
Carla McDonald and Pearl Kellie cover the outside backs, whilst Scotland scrum-half Mairi McDonald is selected following an agreed release from Exeter Chiefs for the round one fixture.
Speaking following selection, Head Coach Laidlaw said: “Selection has been challenging, which is exactly what we want – we want this group to be pushing each other week in, week out and driving each other to be better.
“The opportunity that this 23 have to represent this group and this club is massive – everyone in this group feels part of this challenge and we’ve tasked the 23 selected to lay down a marker and set out what we’re about as a group.
“Everyone is excited and raring to go tomorrow, as we prepare for a massive opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of this club.
Glasgow Warriors team to face Edinburgh at Hive Stadium, Saturday 30 December, kick-off 12pm. You can watch the match live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.
1 Ailie Tucker
2 Nikki Simpson
3 Eilidh Fleming
4 Emma Turner (CC)
5 Louise McMillan
6 Holland Bogan
7 Izzy Hannay
8 Lucy Winter
9 Rhea Clarke (CC)
10 Ceitidh Ainsworth
11 Roma Fraser
12 Lucy MacRae
13 Claudia McLaren
14 Sky Phimister
15 Izzy McGuire-Evans
16 Karis Craig
17 Kaylee Fraser
18 Debbie Lee
19 Sophie Anderson
20 Eve Thomson
21 Mairi McDonald
22 Carla McDonald
23 Pearl Kellie