Scotland prospect Emma Orr reveals birthday wish and how close she came to scoring
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This is truly a new era for Scottish rugby, the introduction of professional contracts following a first World Cup appearance in more than a decade in 2022. The 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations has seen a total overhaul of the Scotland backline, with Hannah Smith and Megan Gaffney having both retired, while sevens trio Lisa Thomson, Rhona Lloyd and Shona Campbell are all unavailable for the start of the Championship at least.
That has mean opportunities for some new faces, with Orr tipped as perhaps the best of the lot since making her debut against Wales a year ago. While Scotland were well-beaten by defending champions England, 58-7, they troubled the world’s number one side for large parts of the opening and closing quarters of the game.
Orr was at the heart of it, coming desperately close to a try 11 minutes in after running a great line and being stopped just short of the line. That chance, and Scotland’s showing at the start and end of the game, has given Orr confidence that she and the team can bounce back against Wales in Edinburgh this weekend.
“I was pretty close in that try,” said Orr, who is combining her rugby with studying agriculture at Edinburgh University, having come from a farming background. “I think literally inches. I think if I had slightly longer arms, I probably would have scored it.
“I think there was the first 20 and the last 20 where we showed glimpses of what we can actually do in terms of, playing on top and keeping the ball alive which we've been really focusing on. In terms of defence, I think we had some really, really strong spells where we were really dominant. And then sometimes we just got caught off guard and folded.
“But overall there's some real positives in there. I think we're just working on putting together the whole 80-minute performance at the moment. We're just eager to show what we can do at home. It should be a great atmosphere. Hopefully it will be the performance we know we're capable of.”
While Wales do not have the same record as England in recent campaigns, their convincing 31-5 win over Ireland showed the benefits of their transition to professionalism at the start of last year. Wales and Scotland faced off twice in 2022, with Scotland twice beaten in the dying stages, 24-19 in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations after a 75th-minute try from Ffion Lewis, and 18-15 at the World Cup thanks to Keira Bevan’s 86th-minute penalty. They will look to make amends, and for Orr, there could be a double celebration with the centre celebrating her 20th birthday the following Thursday.
She added: “That would be the best birthday present ever, to win against Wales. I think we're very positive and it gives us confidence that so many of our last, however many games have been within two or three points of winning, including at the World Cup.
“I think we know we can do it and hopefully we can get these results that we deserve. It might be a loss (against England) but it could also be useful that you've had to play against the best in England first to tell you what you have to reach for. So I think it's a good that we had a bit of a scary game to start our campaign with. It's a great game to measure ourselves with and see where we're at as a squad. Obviously, nobody's really played since the World Cup as a nation. It's nice to get back in a baseline, see where we're at, at the moment and kick on from there.”
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