Rachel Malcolm: Preparation for Scotstoun Tests
Rachel Malcolm splits her time between rugby and lecturing.
Malcolm, who received her PhD in Environmental Physiology from Nottingham Trent University, is captain of her club Loughborough Lightning, and has recently been named as Captain for Scotland for this season.
She has given us an insight into the preparations for Scotland Women in the run up to their Autumn Test at Scotstoun this weekend.
It’s been a big few weeks for the girls since coming back from South Africa, with everyone returning to their respective clubs and also some important prep in the lead up to Autumn Tests.
The squad left South Africa in a very strong place, both on and off the pitch, following a solid block of training, two strong wins and some great time together as a Squad.
It was really important for us to keep pushing forward, especially with Autumn Tests on the horizon. We had some time back training and playing with our clubs prior to coming back together for a training weekend a few weeks ago.
Scotstoun was where I gained my first cap, so to lead the girls out there as captain will be very special. I was a bit caught off guard when Goose rang me to tell me, I was actually in the middle of teaching a laboratory session but was able to step out and take the call while my colleague covered.
I was quite emotional (which luckily Goose is now used to with me…) but just extremely happy and grateful for the opportunity. I think my students must have been confused as to why I was suddenly so happy! However, after it sunk in and I managed to calm down, my focus turned to doing the best job I could for the squad. I am really excited to get going and hopefully for an exciting season ahead with Scotland.
Whilst at our clubs, Scotland was still a massive focus. We have all been looking back at the videos from South Africa and seeing how we can improve ourselves individually and as a team. We have also been watching the recent matches for Wales against Spain and Ireland.
We had an extended training camp which allowed us to revisit our learnings from South Africa and begin our prep towards the Autumn internationals. It was a really intense few days training, culminating in a tough training match. That gave us a great opportunity to run through our plays and build up towards the Autumn Tests.
It was also an opportunity for the return of Sarah Bonar after an extended time on the side lines. She is a vital member of the squad both on and off the pitch. She brings a real aerial threat at lineout time, as well as a great deal of experience in leading that area. That coupled with her work rate in defence and exciting attacking play will make her a real asset over the Autumn Tests.
She is also a great person to have around camp, is always full of energy and makes up one half of our resident double act alongside her fellow second row, Emma Wassell.
It was also another opportunity for valuable experience for some of our newer squad members, such as Christine Belisle and Panashe Muzambe, who are both big characters off the pitch and workhorses on it. It is great to see players like these breaking through and fitting into the squad so well.
The girls are very excited to be back at Scotstoun this weekend. We had some brilliant test matches there last season, where our home crowd really got behind us.
First up we have Wales, a well-known opposition for us, who we know will be a tough and physical encounter.
Japan will be up the following week and they are much more of an unknown for us in comparison to Wales. This will be a massive challenge, but one I’m sure we will rise to.
Whilst we are obviously after wins, we are also using these Tests to really develop as a squad and hope to keep improving on our performances. The matches will be a big step on our journey this year towards the Women’s Rugby World Cup Qualifiers.
Come along to support the team at Scotstoun this weekend. Packages and match tickets are on sale now for Scotland's Autumn Tests and Six Nations matches, secure your tickets to support the team now.