Scotland v Colombia: During lockdown Lana became an expert baker – now she is keen to put a big cherry on top of the cake  

By Gary Heatly

When the Covid pandemic hit the UK in March 2020 sales of flour apparently went through the roof as home baking became one of the ‘things’ to keep everyone busy during lockdown periods.

One person who certainly got the baking bug was Scotland hooker Lana Skeldon, the Hawick-raised hooker hitting the kitchen away from the rugby field and setting up the ‘Skelper’s Scran’ Instagram page.

Her home treats became an instant hit and when her Scotland squad mates found out she was baking lots, they asked her to bring some samples to training once rugby was able to resume.

Fast forward to the present day and all they are asking Lana to do now is perform to her usual high standard on the rugby pitch on Friday in Dubai and help the team reach the World Cup in New Zealand in October and November.

A win over Colombia will see Scotland through to the showpiece event for the first time since 2010 and Lana, now 28 and with 47 caps behind her, said:  “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity isn’t it?

“I am really excited, I am not a player who really gets nervous about things, I try to get too stressed out before a game and I am just wanting to go out there and do the best for the team and hopefully get the result that we want at the end of the day.

“As players we want to inspire the next generation, so if we can get an even bigger platform to do that on [by going to a World Cup] then all the better.

“The more opportunities we get the better, we love what we do and the exposure this match will get across different media platforms etc in the coming days will help grow the game even more.

“We are all individuals in terms of the fact that we all bring different things to the game, but we are so collective as a unit and that is the most important thing for us, we need to stay together and focused on our goal.

“We are so together and that togetherness is the foundation behind this team. Over the last few years we have really gelled well.”

Amazingly, Lana, who is one of the most consistent players around and now plays her club rugby for Worcester Warriors, made her Scotland debut in late 2011 against the Netherlands after she had just turned 18.

“I am struggling to remember that long ago,” she jokes.

“It was a long time ago. I had only just turned 18 then and I have come a long way, but just watching the overall squad develop to where we are now fascinates me.

“We have come so far, now is our time and it is really exciting.

“When I am on the pitch all focus is on training and the game, but when I get down time there is time to reflect and speak to the people back home who are supporting you and you can never underestimate just how much a text message or a quick call can mean, it means so much and pushes us forwards.

“We thrive on that support, we never forget the support who are pushing us over the line.”

The Scotland matchday squad for the big game is due to be named on Thursday.

The Scotland versus Columbia final World Cup qualifier (kick-off 7pm local time, 3pm UK time) will be live on BBC ALBA and World Rugby’s YouTube channel on Friday, February 25

 Lana Skeldon is pictured baking, her big passion away from the rugby field