Rugby World Cup: Scotland Women aim to take 'once in a lifetime opportunity'

Lana Skeldon is under no illusions about the importance of Friday’s World Cup qualifying shoot-out with Colombia.

The forward from Hawick describes it as “a once in a lifetime opportunity” as Bryan Easson’s squad seek to end the national side’s exile from rugby’s top table.

Scotland Women have been absent from the World Cup since 2010 but a victory over the South Americans in the one-off game in Dubai would secure their place at the tournament which will be held in New Zealand in October and November.

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Skeldon won her first cap back in 2011 as a teenager so to be on the cusp of something this big represents a career-defining moment for the hooker.

Lana Skeldon in action for Scotland during an Autumn Test match against Japan at the DAM Health Stadium last November. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“It was a long time ago,” she says of her international debut. “I had only just turned 18 then and I have come a long way, but just watching the overall squad develop into where we are now fascinates me.

“We have come so far, now is our time and it is really exciting.

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“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, isn’t it? I am not a player who really gets nervous about things. It is all about trying to keep a lid on it for myself and staying in control of that excitement and just getting stuck in really.”

Colombia reached the play-off final by beating Kazakhstan and played most of the semi-final with 14 players following the dismissal of No 8 Maribel Mestra Diaz for a dangerous tackle.

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She will miss the Scotland match after being suspended for three weeks but Skeldon has identified plenty of other threats in the Colombian pack.

“They were very physical,” she said. “They will definitely bring it to us and they play with a lot of heart as well. Having looked at their scrums they will have a go at us, but ultimately we are just going to focus on our processes and stick together as an eight and that should do the job fine.”

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Friday’s match in Dubai kicks off at 3pm GMT and will be shown live on BBC Alba.