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Busy winter on the cards for European teams

Ireland and Scotland are planning a fixture in December as part of preparations for next year's Six Nations. With Wales and England also playing in the coming months, it’s a busy period for the international game in Europe. England are set to play three fixtures against New Zealand in November, France will play Canada while Wales will take on Sweden. Finland and Norway will also do battle this weekend.

It promises to be one of the busiest and intense late-year international periods in European womens rugby with a number of the clashes already proving far too close to call.

The Irish and Scottish managements are currently in talks about the format of the game and the location but the fixture makes sense given that neither of the two have any other games lined up and the distance between the countries should prove no major financial burden on either side.

Ireland would be favourites against a Scottish side who they beat earlier this year in the Six Nations though in a blog today for this website, Scotlands Lucy Millard says her countrys tough qualification process has sharpened their focus.

I think the position we found ourselves in, fighting for a place at next year's World Cup, has sharpened the focus of a lot of the players and we have been fortunate enough to have access to individual skills coaches as well as top class strength and conditioning facilities at Murrayfield, she said.

Ireland will also go into the game with a new head coach after the IRFU confirmed yesterday that Kevin West will take over from Steven Hennessy who had only been appointed just over a year ago.

Its Irelands third head coach in little over three years though the changing faces havent interrupted the national teams progress as last year was the sides best ever Six Nations finish.

Ireland, unlike Scotland, qualified outright for the Women's World Cup courtesy of their performances and third place finish in the championship and will be looking to maintain their progress with a win in December.

Scotland meanwhile had a tough summer after they were forced to qualify for the World Cup. They were forced to travel to Sweden to attempt to qualify va the European Trophy though the extra games there could stand in their favour as Ireland havent played an international game since March.