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TikTok Girls’s Six Nations | My Rugby Journey: Helen Nelson

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Scotland did not qualify for the 2 earlier editions of the showpiece occasion, and it’s a must to return to 2006 for his or her most up-to-date encounter in opposition to both Australia or New Zealand, with each Southern Hemisphere giants of their pool on this event.

Since qualification was secured with a landslide win over Colombia in February, it has been introduced that Scotland Girls will flip skilled after the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup, with at the very least 30 gamers set to be provided contracts.

Fly-half Nelson is certain to be one in every of them having amassed 38 caps since her debut in 2016, whereas additionally taking over the mantle as vice-captain in the course of the 2022 TikTok Girls’s Six Nations, the place a string of stellar performances noticed her named within the Group of the Championship.

Forward of Scotland’s return to the world stage, Nelson stated that she couldn’t want for a greater place to be making her Rugby World Cup bow.

“New Zealand has at all times been on the bucket checklist,” she defined.

“Hopefully we’ll get some days off to go and journey. I have not seen my brother since earlier than Covid, and he is in Sydney, so he’ll pop over.

“That will probably be a really good reunion, so I am wanting ahead to that.”

When the Inverness-born playmaker first began taking part in rugby for Glencoe Golden Eagles, she by no means dreamt that she would sooner or later symbolize her nation.

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Although she was not the primary in her household to take action, along with her auntie, Clare Hoppe, a member of the first-ever Eire Girls’s group whose first worldwide got here, coincidentally, in opposition to Scotland.

“She was at all times fairly a giant sporting affect in my life,” stated Nelson.

“I knew that it was potential by way of her; I knew it was potential to play in your nation and that ladies may play internationally.

“Then later, as she was recognized with most cancers, simply seeing her resilience and willpower; nothing was too massive.

“She at all times took all the pieces on with a smile on her face and was at all times asking about me. That was one factor that caught with me.

“She simply took all the pieces in her stride and noticed the optimistic in all the pieces and I feel I will at all times keep in mind that.”

By the point Nelson arrived at Edinburgh College in 2012, rugby had dropped down the pecking order of sports activities she hoped to play, with soccer prime of the checklist.

Although one rejection modified all of that, and unbeknown to Nelson on the time, set her on the trail to worldwide stardom.

“I did not even take into consideration becoming a member of the rugby group, it was probably not one in every of my choices,” recalled Nelson.

“However I acquired turned down for the soccer facet and I stored seeing the rugby posters in all places. So I used to be like, ‘alright, I will go alongside and check out it’, and I simply beloved it once more.

“I first educated on the Monday then performed that Wednesday and that was me hooked from there.”

From having not performed the game in years, Nelson was quickly taking part in matches twice every week, lining up for Murrayfield Wanderers on weekends as rugby grew to become an ever-growing a part of her life.

“To go from being a more energizing who had no concept what I used to be doing to being captain and president in my remaining 12 months was a extremely cool expertise. I feel I owe rather a lot to Edinburgh Uni for that, ”she added.

Nelson graduated in 2016, the identical 12 months she represented her nation for the primary time.

Although Nelson was used to profitable with Edinburgh, it was a really totally different story at worldwide degree, with Scotland then winless within the TikTok Girls’s Six Nations since 2010, at which level Nelson was additionally a member of the Scottish Alpine Ski group.

Nelson and her teammates would then have to attend an extra 12 months for a Championship victory, and it arrived in dramatic style, with scrum-half Sarah Legislation kicking a 78th minute penalty to edge Wales 15-14.

Seven of the facet that began that day had been concerned in September’s World Cup warm-up fixture in opposition to the USA and Nelson displays again on that victory as a turning level for the squad.

“It was unbelievable. I feel it simply instilled perception in us, ”she stated.

“Clearly, Scotland Girls had been by way of a time the place profitable simply wasn’t regular. So getting that win, it was just like the monkey off the again.

“It was in all probability the beginning of the place we are actually. It is quite a lot of the identical ladies now, we had been younger then and we’re senior gamers now, so it was the beginning of our journey. “

One other defining second within the historical past of Scotland Girls’s rugby got here this 12 months with the information that Scotland would comply with England and Wales in changing into skilled.

The announcement fashioned a part of a wider four-year technique to develop the sport, with targets set by the Scottish Rugby Union together with a top-eight end on the 2025 World Cup and an attendance of seven,000 at worldwide video games by 2026.

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And having witnessed first-hand the exponential development of the sport, Nelson is wanting ahead to a brighter future for Scotland Girls.

“The kids which can be coming in are so a lot better,” she added. “The whole lot is simply taking place from a youthful age, so it is a actually thrilling time.

“We’re simply going to maintain getting higher from right here. [I’m] actually proud to have been firstly of that journey, and hopefully be round for a number of years longer to kick on and see what we are able to do. “

The speedy focus, nonetheless, is the World Cup down underneath, and Nelson admits that it is going to be an emotional second when Bryan Easson’s facet line up for his or her opening fixture on ninth October.

“I am not letting myself give it some thought an excessive amount of or get too excited, however it’ll be unbelievable,” she stated.

“I feel this group has grafted for this for a protracted, very long time. Taking part in New Zealand in New Zealand, in our first World Cup in 12 years, it would not get extra particular than that.

“I nonetheless do not assume it is totally sunk in.”

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