Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm is unsure whether this year’s Women’s Six Nations will be completed, alongside Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
Scotland’s championship was cut short due to Coronavirus, with their match in Italy postponed due to the outbreak in the Lombardy region, where the fixture was due to be played on 23 February.
Then, their Scotstoun clash with France was postponed after a player was diagnosed with COVID-19, and that also meant the postponement of their championship finale against Wales.
And Malcolm, who celebrated her 29th birthday over the weekend, is unsure if there will be space available in the calendar to play those matches, with World Cup qualifiers due to be played in September.
But the back-row remains hopeful.
She said: “I think the aim is to play all of the matches. Six Nations is obviously a big one in terms of preparation towards those qualifiers, so if we could get them in prior that would be really good build-up but it maybe they come after.
“We just don’t know.”
Malcolm, who insisted we are all in the same position as we deal with social distancing and lockdown measures – due to be reviewed in Scotland later this week, admits there have been ups and downs for her during the last couple of months.
“Some days you feel fine and others you’re a bit out of sorts because your missing that social interaction which brings so much satisfaction.
“It’s important when you do feel these dips it’s important you’re in touch with your friends and family to make sure it’s not just a dip. We have a brilliant support system with our mental health and wellbeing through Stuart Dow.
“He’s done a fantastic job on how we’re coping. He’s the first to flag any issues that might be happening with any of the girls and we’re lucky to have him.”
Whatever happens, Malcolm knows her side will need top-level match practice before they go into those Rugby World Cup qualifying matches.
“Scottish Rugby have assured us they’ll make sure, for our welfare as much as anything else, that we’ll have ample time for preparation we require.
“Obviously that will require some rugby in the build-up.
“I would imagine speculatively that there will be Tests but it will all be dependant on what the government guidelines are are and what the sporting guidelines are and how it all fits in the calendar.
“At the moment it’s just completely unknown when it’s going to be but I know Scottish Rugby are doing all they can to make sure we have enough time to prep.
“The same in terms of how we would have been in September if all things had been going normally.”
Image caption: Scotland Women captain Rachel Malcolm in action. Image credit: Fotosport/David