Celtic Challenge: “This competition gives me a great opportunity to push and test myself,” Warrior Winter says

Gary Heatly

Scotland cap number 209 Lucy Winter has been one of Glasgow Warriors standout performers in the early weeks of the expanded Celtic Challenge competition – and she cannot wait for their first home game on Saturday.

After loses on the road to Edinburgh Rugby at Hive Stadium and Gwalia Lightning in Wales, the Warriors are at Scotstoun to take on the unbeaten Irish Wolfhounds at 2.30pm.

While the Warriors may not have won yet, their have certainly been pockets of positivity and one of those has been the performances of Watsonians’ Winter in the back-row.

She will be at openside for Glasgow’s momentous moment at Scotstoun and the former Sale Sharks player said:  “Coming off the back of the club league season I was looking for an opportunity to push myself and the Celtic Challenge has definitely given me that.

“The opponents we are coming up against from Ireland and Wales have a lot of full-time girls in there so it is good to test myself against them.

“This tournament is definitely doing a good job of bridging the gab between club and international rugby and I am just looking forward to the next few weeks.

“For me personally, this competition gives me a great opportunity to push and test myself.

“And it’s amazing to be involved in the first home match.

“When I was growing up there was certainly nothing like this to aspire to.

“To be able to inspire the next generation of girls and boys is an honour and a privilege – and we want to make playing at places like Scotstoun an accessible goal for everyone.”

Winter is one of the more experienced players in the Glasgow squad having played for her country a few years back and also had a stint at the highest level in England.

Her work at the breakdown could be a key if the Scots are to gain a first victory in round three of action and the 28-year-old, who began playing rugby during her final year of school at Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir when her PE teacher set up a team, added:  “It has been a really good first few weeks being part of the Glasgow Warriors set up.

“It has been pretty insane how much information the coaches have managed to download to us in a short space of time and the support we have had from the overall club has been great to get us to this position.

“It has definitely been a whirlwind, we have learned a lot as a group and we are looking forward to continuing to build in our first home match.

“In both games so far we have not had the results we have been after, but we have not dwelled on that too much, instead we have looked at the positive parts from each display.

“Last week down in Wales our defence was pretty good in the main and that is certainly something to build on, we just need to be doing less of it throughout the 80 minutes and when we have the ball ourselves we have to look after it a bit better and make better use of it.

“Our conversion rate in the ‘22’ has been good in the first two matches, but we just need to get into the right areas a bit more often and that cohesion in attack will come the more that we play together.”

Ailie Tucker, Scotland cap Louise McMillan, Phaedra Snailham on debut and Carla McDonald have come into the Glasgow starting XV for this one with Kaylee Fraser added to the bench.

Head coach Chris Laidlaw said:  “As a group, we’re excited about the opportunity to play our first ever home game at Scotstoun.

“We were happy with the progress last week in certain parts of our game, however we know that will need to improve even more this week to be competitive against a strong and experienced Wolfhounds team.”

The match will be streamed via RugbyPass TV and BBC Sport Scotland.

Thanks to Bryan Robertson Photography for the main image of Lucy Winter on the attack

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