Scotland stalwarts reach milestone together
As Scotland Women head to Spain this week to play the side in a Six Nations preparation match, we look back at some of the players personal acheivements following the Autumn Tests.
Scotland’s match against Japan in November was historical in many ways. It was the first time that the two sides have faced each other, and it was the chance for two of Scotland’s players to pick up notable caps.
Off the back of Sarah Law receiving her 40th cap in South Africa and Lisa Martin picking up her 50th against Wales the week previously, both Emma Wassell and Jade Konkel ran onto the field against Japan for their 40thcap.
Konkel picked up her first cap against England in 2013. From a young 19-year-old, who had just started to play at Hillhead Jordanhill to a full-time rugby player at Harlequins, things have definitely changed for her over that six-year period.
She reflected on what all has changed since that first cap: “When I first began training with Scotland, we didn’t have Autumn Tests or a full-time coach. We have been through a lot of coaching changes since then, but it has made a big difference having a full-time coach in recent years.
“Our competition diary has also expanded. We now have Tests in the Autumn and this year we enjoyed the experience of our first ever tour to South Africa. The resource that we now have in the women’s game is much better. We now have 10 contracted players as well as full-time coaches, physios and strength and conditioners.”
Emma Wassell received her first cap a year later against Ireland in the Six Nations. For her first two games she was named as a replacement, but she has since started in the 38 consecutive matches that have followed!
Wassell said: “When I got my first cap, I definitely didn’t think I would play the next 40 games for Scotland, and I feel incredible lucky to be part of the journey. It’s not been the easiest, but every season I have seen huge steps taken in the right direction, and that’s all you can hope for.
“Genuinely, whether it was my first, 27th or 40th I feel extremely proud to have the opportunity to play for Scotland.”
“Despite the full team not being professional yet, the professionalism at which the players, coaching and support staff all strive for is something that has increased massively.
“We have come a long way, but we need to keep moving forward, and hopefully I can be part of that for some more years to come!”
Wassell’s first cap was against Ireland and their coach at the time was the now Scotland Head Coach, Philip Doyle.
Reflecting on that match, she said: “I don’t remember much of that game being honest, it all went very fast, and I got a really bad nosebleed almost as soon as I came on the pitch. We lost, but hopefully that’s due to how well Ireland were coached by Goose! It’s great to have him involved with Scotland women now.”
Konkel is currently playing at Harlequins who are currentling sitting top of the Tyrrell’s 15s league.
She said on the experience: “It is really cool playing for Harlequins. Karen Findlay is my Head Coach. She was my first ever Scotland coach back in 2013 so it has been really good to reconnect with her.”
“I think playing around so many players and nationalities is amazing. You can learn off everybody and hopefully people can learn off me as well. Playing at such a high level in the Tyrrell’s is brilliant. I now have Chloe Rollie with me too and it’s nice to be able to play with other Scotland teammates.”
The team has been playing at Scotstoun for two years now and the players love calling it home.
Konkel said: “I love playing at Scotstoun. I lived in Glasgow, so it is a bit of a home to me. I used to come and watch Glasgow Warriors play so to get the opportunity to come and play at Scotstoun, the home of Warriors, is amazing and to now call it our home is brilliant. The support that we get here is great. People come from all across the country to come and support us.”
“Hopefully we can keep making everyone proud.”
Scotland return to Scotstoun to play England on Sunday 9 February, followed by France on Saturday 7 March. Match tickets are on sale now for Scotland’s Six Nations matches, secure your tickets now.