Scottish Rugby contracts eight female players

Scottish Rugby has doubled the number of contracted female players, awarding eight new contracts.

The new deals, known as ‘2021 contracts’, are part of the governing body’s investment into the top-level of the women’s game and provide players with financial support to facilitate training and playing with the aim of securing qualification for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021.

Jade Konkel, Chloe Rollie and Lisa Thomson, who played together at Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois (LMRCV) last season, all continue their relationship with Scottish Rugby, while fellow Scotland Women caps Sarah Bonar, Megan Kennedy, Lisa Martin, Helen Nelson and Lana Skeldon have also signed 2021 contracts.

All eight contracted players were central in Scotland’s recent Women’s Six Nations campaign in which they won their first away match for 12 years against Ireland in Dublin.

Scottish Rugby Head of Women & Girls Rugby, Gemma Fay, said: “We’re delighted to be increasing our investment in performance women’s rugby and expanding the number of contracted players.

These contracts are about providing a flexible, athlete-centred approach that works for each individual and their ambitions in rugby and beyond.

“Having players training and playing in a more competitive environment, more often, can only be good for Scotland Women and the women’s game more broadly.”

Chloe Rollie, who scored three tries in this year’s Women’s Six Nations, continues her playing career at LMRCV and is joined in Lille by Scotland Women captain, Lisa Martin.

Helen Nelson, who scored in the historic away win over Ireland, will also play in the French Top 8 league for Montpellier.

Jade Konkel, who became the first contracted Scottish female rugby player in 2016, joins Harlequins – playing in English top flight, Tyrrell’s Premier 15s.

Centre Lisa Thomson will also return to the UK following a year in France, playing for DMP Sharks, and loose forward Sarah Bonar continues with her club, Loughborough Lightning.

Front-row forwards Lana Skeldon and Megan Kennedy, who won her first five caps in this year’s Women’s Six Nations championship, will play in Scotland.

Both continue to play for their current Tennent’s Women’s Premier League clubs, Watsonians and Stirling County, respectively.

As home-based players, Kennedy and Skeldon will continue to receive support from the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy alongside Thomson who will be studying in Scotland while playing for DMP Sharks.

Megan Kennedy said: “It’s a dream come true. The opportunity to focus on rugby while still developing my education is enormous for me.

“I’m very excited for the season ahead there are a lot of new and exciting challenges to look forward to.

“After a season of international rugby, I feel I have a better understanding of how robust I need to be to handle such intense competition and I believe my training will prepare me for that. I’ll continue to train hard both on and off the pitch and I believe my rugby will continue to develop.”

Sarah Law, one of last year’s contracted players, will continue to receive support from the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy as she recovers from injury.

All 2021 contracts will be reviewed on an annual basis.

2021 contracted players

Sarah Bonar (Loughborough Lightning) – 11 caps

Megan Kennedy (Stirling County) – 5 caps

Jade Konkel (Harlequins) – 32 caps

Lisa Martin (LMRCV) – 41 caps

Helen Nelson (Montpellier) – 14 caps

Chloe Rollie (LMRCV) – 22 caps

Lana Skeldon (Watsonians) – 26 caps

Lisa Thomson (DMP Sharks) – 16 caps