With immediate effect, Karen Findlay has been appointed head coach of Scotland Women.
A hugely experienced former Scotland internationalist and currently head coach at Richmond RFC, Karen takes charge of the side just a week prior to its first Six Nations fixture against France (Friday 4 February, Viry-Châtillon, kick-off 8pm, local).
Karen won 85 caps for Scotland, 52 as captain, and was a member of the first women’s national team to play at Murrayfield Stadium. Her international career began in 1996, against Wales, and continued until 2006, when she moved into a full-time sports coaching programme. She was appointed to the coaching team at Richmond and has been head coach for five years; Richmond is the largest women's club in existence, with three women's senior sides competing each week in the top three tiers of RFUW competition. She has also coached Surrey under-20 girls and in the Celtic League, which involved Scottish, Welsh, Irish and exile players, and was involved in coaching Scotland Women in the run-up to their recent friendly in Spain.
Of her appointment to the national team, Karen said: “I’m incredibly honoured, delighted, and very excited about the future. There’s a really good basis to the squad and I’ve seen lots of good things – if we get the foundations right now, that bodes well for the future.”
Aside from her rugby commitments, Karen works full time for the Olympic Police co-ordination team, delivering national security in the run up to and during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Scottish Rugby's Head of Community Rugby, Colin Thomson, said: "The appointment of a high profile women's international player who has made the transition from club to representative and now to full international level coaching is a significant step in the development of the women's game. I'm sure that the squad will benefit from Karen's years of experience.
In the build-up to their Six Nations championship, Scotland Women take on the Army in a training game this weekend (Saturday 29 January) at Percy Park RFC, Tynemouth with a 2pm kick-off.
Meanwhile, the Scotland Women under-20 team has appointed Jules Murciano as head coach, assisted by Donna Kennedy and Claire Cruikshank. Jules has a wealth of coaching experience ranging from club to performance coaching within the women's programme while Donna and Claire are former Scotland internationalists, Donna having retired as Scotland's most capped rugby player with a women's world record 115 caps.
For more information and updates on Scotland Women, log on to the web site at www.scottishrugby.org
Scotland Women Six Nations fixtures 2011
Friday 4 February, France Women v Scotland Women, Viry-Châtillon (near Paris) kick-off 8pm (local)
Sunday 13 February, Scotland Women v Wales Women, Burnbrae, kick-off 2pm
Saturday 26 February, Scotland Women v Ireland Women, Lasswade, kick-off 2pm
Sunday 13 March, England Women v Scotland Women (follows the men’s match) Twickenham, kick-off 5.15pm
Sunday 20 March, Scotland Women v Italy Women, Meggetland, kick-off 3pm