Gaffney announces her retirement from international rugby
Scotland winger Megan Gaffney has today announced her retirement from international rugby.
Gaffney has enjoyed an illustrious career, making 45 appearances for the senior women’s side, while representing Scotland at both U18 and U20 level and also representing the thistle on the world stage as part of the Scotland 7s set-up.
Megan made her international debut off the bench against the Netherlands in Amsterdam in November 2011 and her first start against England at Esher in the 2013 Women’s Six Nations opener. She scored her first points for Scotland against the Netherlands, running in two of the five tries in the FIRA WRWC 2014 qualifier win.
She played a key part in helping Scotland 7s to qualify for their first ever Commonwealth Games event, before going on to compete at the 2022 Birmingham games. She made her final appearance for Scotland Women against Wales during the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, bowing out in style after scoring two tries in the narrow pool stage loss to Wales.
Speaking of her decision to retire, Gaffney said: “It is the right time. I feel like I want to put energy into other things in my life and I would never want to wear The Thistle if I felt I couldn’t give it my all so it’s a timing thing and where I am at in my life more than anything else. I just want to leave the jersey in a good place and I feel like I have done that.”
Looking back at her career, Gaffney highlighted some key significant moments, saying: “My first 7s cap was quite a big deal as I was a part of the first ever Scotland Women’s 7s team in 2012. I was really young and I didn’t really realise what I was part of at the time. To play at a World Series event was the point I realised ‘oh I can do this, I can go quite far in this sport.’
“The first Six Nations game we won in 2017 against Wales definitely felt like a turning point as well. Obviously, that was the first time we had a full-time coach and it felt like the union were really behind us and I feel like that was the start of the journey for the next few years.
“My favourite ever moment was when Sarah Law took that kick in Italy back in 2021. Watching videos of it now is like “oh my goodness, I was there and that really happened.” I think that’s the most iconic moment, even though it was nothing to do with me, I was just watching, but to see that happen and to be part of that was really special.
Having a support network is an integral part of each individual’s rugby journey, and Gaffney is keen to pay tribute to those who have helped her along the way.
She continued: “When I was 15, Suzanne Ritchie who was a teacher of mine at school, started a girls rugby club at the high school in North Berwick. I feel like if that hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t have got back into the sport and played to this level. She was very encouraging and drove us all over to training days and just having someone willing to put in that commitment allowed me to explore rugby a bit more.
“Scott Forrest, obviously he gave me first 7s cap, but I feel like when we initially met, I was quite young and just discovering rugby and what I was good at and what type of player I was. He really gave me the confidence to figure that out and help me along the way. The things I pride myself on I figured out while working with him, so he was a big part of it and gave me the confidence to push on to the 15s team.
“Allan MacDonald [former Strength and Conditioning Coach] has helped me a lot on and off the pitch and was a really good support system. He believes in more than just the performance and wants people to be all around happy and he helped me through a few tough times.
“Of course, Ellen Dickson [Team Manager] who is just in the background but the whole thing would fall apart if it wasn’t for Ellen and she was there actually for the first 7s cap!”
Gaffney will still be supporting her former teammates from the sidelines as they approach another busy season and encourages others to do the same.
She said: “Just keep supporting women’s rugby. We are at a point now where we are putting on good shows and we just want more people to come and enjoy what we do. Keep involved, keep following and come watch us play. We couldn’t do this without the supporters and they make it even more special. They are part of it as much as the players.”