In the fourth offering of our new web column for the 2016/17 season, Scotland Women’s cap Deborah McCormack writes for us ahead of their Women’s Six Nations campaign:
I started playing rugby at the age of 10 when my brother joined our local club Medway RFC – he is two years older than me but I always liked to follow in things he did.
I progressed to the under-16 girls and ladies teams before moving onto Richmond in 2012/13 and finally to Aylesford Bulls this season.
I played a lot of different sports when I was younger, but I stuck with rugby mainly because of the environment – it’s a competitive game with a very strong team work ethos.
In terms of my involvement with Scotland, well after moving to Richmond Head Coach Karen Findlay, who had previously coached Scotland, encouraged me to go to Scotland trials.
I was selected for the subsequent camps in 2013 and was selected for the 2014 Six Nations tournament, gaining my first cap against Ireland away.
Although I don’t remember much of the game, I remember the anthems clearly; I remember exactly where I was standing, the spot I looked out to in the crowd, the players next to me and the squeeze of the jerseys – I’ll never forget that moment.
Although I was nervous beyond belief, I was incredibly proud to be standing there alongside my team mates, and friends, wearing the thistle and representing Scotland. It’s what keeps me going, it reminds me what we work so hard for; to get the chance to do it again.
There is no doubt that the defeat to Spain over two legs in the Rugby World Cup qualifier in November hit us hard both physically and mentally.
We had worked so incredibly hard for a long time leading up to these matches and to narrowly lose out was devastating.
However, we played well, we were just unable to finish a few opportunities. It has filled us with renewed endeavour and we are focused on carrying the momentum forward into the Six Nations.
As a second-row it has been great working with Head Coach Shade Munro, he’s really focused on developing us, both individually and as a squad.
He invests a lot of time in individual feedback and analysis and has an open and honest approach. I think this player/coach communication has been invaluable in helping us to progress.
Shade has also worked hard – along with other coaching staff and with Shelia Begbie [Head of Women’s & Girls’ Rugby] – in order to secure us more time together in camps and more fixtures in order to provide us with more competitive matches during the season.
We are even playing my club team leading into the Six Nations!
It’s great to be getting more game time as a squad and we can use these matches to develop things we have been working on in the training ground.
It will be strange lining up against my club side, which plays in the English Premiership. They are a very strong side with a good mix of internationals players – it will be competitive fixture that we are all looking forward to.
Scotland Women are in a good place going into the Six Nations, the squad has come far in such a short space of time and we have made evident gains. The whole squad is focused on this tournament and we will be looking to show that we are a competitive side.
Obviously, the other nations have also been developing and preparing for this and the World Cup, but we have shown that we can be a competitive team against sides ranked higher than us, we want to be able to take this forward and really compete – we want to be putting scores on the board and minimising points difference for any loss, the win is within reach for us and we aim to do everything we can to get there.
We’re looking forward to making Broadwood our home again and would love to see the stands full of support – it really does make a massive difference, the crowds and support we had during the first qualifier at Scotstoun was incredible and it lifted us as a team.
We have three home games and to have the crowds behind us again at Broadwood could be the catalyst for change.
Scotland Women and Scotland under-20 will play three double-headers at Broadwood Stadium during the Six Nations against Ireland, Wales and Italy
Adult tickets are £10 (valid for both matches), with free entry for senior citizens, under-18 and Scotland season pass holders
Read more from the club game in SCRUM 90 now – click here to have a read
To subscribe for FREE click here