Dixon'S Debut Delight

Making their Scotland debuts in Sunday's (6 November) win over Netherlands Women (33-10 in Amsterdam) were flanker Lana Skeldon (Melrose), winger Sarah Dixon (Stirling County), scrum half Sarah Sexton and winger Megan Gaffney (both Murrayfield Wanderers).

Lana and Megan are both 'graduates' of Scotland Women's under-20 programme whle Sarah Sexton came into the squad through the women's regional programme. And for Sarah Dixon - who has a rugby league background, playing for Great Britain, before discovering the joys of rugby union at university - it was a particularly memorable first cap as, within minutes of kick-off, she scored Scotland's opening try...

Photo:  Lana Skeldon, Sarah Dixon, Sarah Sexton and Megan Gaffney after the game at the National Rugby Centre, Amsterdam

As Sarah recalls: "It all stemmed from Ruth (Slaven) at 7 and was a move we'd been working on from the training pitch. It was a brilliant run from Ruth, with Steph Johnson in support, and I was just there to finish it off. It all happened so quickly I wasn't even sure I'd scored, to start with! It's something you dream about and it was a brilliant team effort."
 
The whole squad has put in a huge amount of training over the summer, working around full-time jobs and diverse geographical locations, and Sarah feels it all came to fruition on Sunday. "I think we played really well together - we gelled so well for a group of 'randoms'! 
 
"It's great that all the hard work we put in over the summer - the strength and conditioning, the speed and endurance work, the Sunday skills clinics - has paid off. And wherever we are in the country, we've been set up with local coaches that we can go to for advice.
 
"I've also played in two of the three Scotland Series games we've had this season. That's been invaluable, playing alongside squad members in such an intense atmosphere, where you're being videoed and the coaches are analysing your every move. It gives you so much confidence in the players around you, making sure you're always trying to turn any opportunity into points and that's transferred onto the pitch today."
 
With two further Scotland Series games before Christmas and competition rife for places, the training schedule continues for all players in the build-up to the 2012 Six Nations.
 
Adds Sarah: "I'll be keeping up with all the strength and conditioning work and the regular skills and coaching sessions on Tuesday evenings with Scotland and at other times of the week with my club. The whole squad is going from strength to strength and we'll be firing on all cylinders by the time we get to the Six Nations."
 
So finally, as an internationalist of both codes now - rugby league or rugby union? "The aggressive breaks and leg drives of league have been useful for both games but I prefer rugby union now. You're not restricted by the phases of play that you have in league and you can just keep on attacking and attacking!"