Women’s 6N: “It feels unbelievable to be back out there playing for my country,” says Molly Wright

Gary Heatly

It got lost a bit in the dramatic ending to the Guinness Women’s Six Nations opener on Saturday, but every Scotland supporter was delighted to see front-rower Molly Wright back in the international fold when she entered the Cardiff Arms Park pitch in the 74th minute.

Wright, the 32-year-old who grew up in New Zealand and qualifies through residency, made her Scotland debut in 2020 versus Spain.

It was then a special moment for her when she played for the Scots in the Rugby World Cup in her homeland and even more so when she played in the final group match against New Zealand.

That was in October 2022 when Wright earned her 18th cap, but she had to wait until the weekend just gone to win cap number 19.

That was because in early 2023 the Sale Sharks player suffered an ACL knee injury.

She has worked so hard over the last 12 months or so to get back into action and after some recent outings for Sale in the PWR she was in the matchday 23 as Scotland won in Cardiff against Wales for the first time since 2004.

“It has been a year since I have been out, so it felt so good to be able to pull the Scotland jersey on again,” Wright, who came on for loosehead prop Leah Bartlett as the team secured a record seventh Test win in a row.

“It feels unbelievable to be back out there playing for my country. I have had a lot of support from Scotland and my club to get back to this point, you don’t do it on your own.

“It has been a steep climb back in, but you trust that process and when you do get back on the pitch and get opportunities you take them.

“What is so special with Scotland at the moment is that there are currently so many people invested in us all getting better and winning games.

“And the exciting thing post-Wales is that we know we can get better, 100 percent. We want to put ourselves forward and challenge ourselves against the biggest teams and hopefully get a spot at WXV 1 later in the year.”

When Wright, who moved to Scotland in 2017 to work in the NHS and took her rugby on to the next level at Watsonians in Edinburgh after a short spell in Dumfries, entered the fray in Wales, stand-off Helen Nelson had just kicked a penalty to put the team 20-13 up.

Wales then knocked at the door, young Alex Stewart was yellow carded and then back-row Alex Callender’s try for Wales was given after a TMO check. Lleucu George, the stand-off, could not convert though and Scotland held on for a famous 20-18 win.

“We have been on the other end of these kind of games when we haven’t seen them out and teams have come back at us and beaten us, but we saw this one out and that is a big shift in our mentality,” Wright stated.

“We can now win more of those little, important battles in games and we did that here and it bodes well.

“It feels surreal to get this win, it has been 20 years since we have won in Wales and any win against Wales is a big moment for us.

“We want to be pushing a ‘top teams in the world’ mentality so it is a big step for us to beat Wales away.

“We need to tighten up a few things on set piece for sure for France, but we were really pleased with the energy and the optimism we played with.

“We were really looking to get our backs in space and you could see what they did when they had the ball and there was some fantastic work from Emma Orr, especially beautifully putting Rhona Lloyd in to space for her to finish.”

Wright, who has also played hooker at the top level, is a real motivational character and an energiser around the Scotland squad and has a professional contract with Scottish Rugby.

Previously she admitted:  “When I got to Dumfries in 2017 after time in London, I wasn’t even playing rugby at the time and I thought I’d hung up my boots.”

Seven years on from that and rugby supporters north of the border are very glad that she laced those boots back up again.

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the image of Molly Wright celebrating with supporters in Cardiff

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