LONDON: Scotland's players fear it could take several years before they can close the gap with England and France in women's rugby as they head into a Six Nations tournament that risks seeing repeats of some of last year's one-sided games.
England and France inflicted some hefty defeats in the 2019 championship, including an 80-0 victory for England against Scotland at Twickenham.
"You've got to recognise the teams are at different stages of their journeys, some of those one-sided results are because of a lack of depth in the player pool which we are seeing an improvement in," Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm said at the tournament launch on Wednesday.
"It will take a couple of years to see the fruits of that labour."
England swept the tournament last year weeks after the Rugby Football Union awarded 28 players full-time contracts, allowing them to focus on the game, while their rivals have to juggle other jobs.
"The benefit has been not just in the recovery your body has but also from a mental point of view having actual downtime," said England captain Sarah Hunter.
France, whose players largely have part-time contracts which are nonetheless a step up from their amateur rivals, also look strongly placed after running England close in November.
The two sides meet on the opening weekend on Feb. 2 in a clash that could decide the championship.
(Reporting by Lawrence White; Editing by Ken Ferris)