Jenny showing that all’s well with Maxwell
For most people, life ground to a halt in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but for Scotland scrum-half Jenny Maxwell, it was something that she was already accustomed to.
Maxwell suffered an ACL injury during Scotland’s away test against Spain in January, which subsequently ruled her out of the 2020 Women’s Six Nations championship.
“I would not dream of complaining about this rehab period that I’ve had” she said. “It’s a horrific injury and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s also a long return, there is no two ways about it, you can’t rush back from it.”
Despite suffering an injury that would rule her out until almost the end of the year, Maxwell only missed three international games against Ireland, England and France in the truncated 2020 Women’s Six Nations tournament.
“With everything being pushed back, it has given me that time to focus on my rehab. I’ve addressed any issues and got it as strong and as fit as I can be for returning to this tournament.
“The support from my club and from Scottish Rugby throughout the pandemic has been amazing. When we first went into complete lockdown, I was on the phone to physios every day, through message, Facetime or anything. I’ve had everything I’ve needed from being provided with nutrition support through that as well remotely, so it’s been really good. It’s honestly been hard, but it’s been as good as it can be.”
Having made her Scotland bow in a 2015 Six Nations fixture with France, Maxwell has been part of the national set-up for long enough to have witnessed a tangible progression in the ranks, as the side continue to shoot for World Cup qualification in New Zealand next year.
She explained: “The whole thing is completely different. From the support that we get from the union, the quality of coaches, the backroom staff, S&C, nutrition everything now is just night and day.
“When we got our first full-time coach that was big news, I couldn’t believe that was happening. Historically it was teachers or people who were doing it on the side, so that’s one massive change. But the quality of the rugby itself from within the Scottish squad, the skill set from the girls that are coming through is just brilliant, it pushed us all on to keep improving.
“The games that we are playing against the other nations as well are much more competitive. Also the standards are just getting better every year so it’s all change!”
Maxwell has developed as a player, too, amassing over 30 caps in the time since that France debut and becoming a mainstay of the Scotland squad, as she added: “Yeah just confidence in my ability and belief within the squad as well. When I got my first cap I was playing out of position on the wing; it’s not that I hadn’t played there before, because I had with club. I was kind of in and out of the squad at that point as well so you don’t really know where it’s going to take you.
“You know what you want to achieve, you want to be there and you want to be a part of it, it’s not always smooth sailing but the longer I’ve been involved I know what I’m capable of and what the squad is capable of as well.”