Women’s 6N: “My favourite thing about playing for Scotland is making my parents proud,” says Louise McMillan

Gary Heatly

Scotland have been on a journey to get to where they are now over the last few years and Louise McMillan has been a massive part of that.

She will earn her 50th cap against France today (2.15pm, live on BBC Sport) at Hive Stadium and it will be an emotional one for the Birkmyre and Hillhead Jordanhill product who now plays for Saracens.

It will also be an emotional – and proud – afternoon for her family who have supported the second-row who started out as a back-row all the way since she made her debut aged 19 versus Spain at Scotstoun in a Rugby World Cup qualifier back in late 2016.

“My favourite thing about playing for my country is making my parents proud,” McMillan, now 26, said.

“They have always been there to support me, I can always spot them into the crowd and they love being part of the squad’s parents’ WhatsApp group!

“Seriously though, they have been there with me through the highs and the lows and it’ll be great to have them and other family and friends at the Hive for this game.

“One of my favourite memories of this whole time with Scotland was getting the chance to play alongside my sister Siobhan.

“With me getting to 50 caps there is definitely an appreciation from me about how lucky I have been. There are other girls who played before professionalism who no doubt could have got to 50 caps and more, but they couldn’t because they couldn’t commit around full-time jobs and other things.

“When I get my 50th cap there is definitely appreciation from me that I am standing on the shoulders of other girls who 100 percent could have got there.

“That’s very much how I feel about Siobhan because she had all the natural ability in the world, she is an incredible rugby player, but she had to go into full-time work.

“I wouldn’t be here without Siobhan.”

Louise is Scotland cap number 196 and Siobhan 202 and so much has changed in the former’s life since that debut mentioned.

Then she was first year law student at Glassgow University while now she plays rugby for a living with the help of Scottish Rugby and Saracens.

“It is funny because when people have asked me about the debut game this week it has been hard not to talk about myself in the third person because I don’t know who she was,” McMillan explained.

“It was a different Louise, I was so young, but it is really special thinking back to that moment because my rugby career since then has gone alongside my life away from rugby and I have done a lot of growing.

“At that time, I was a first year university student and now I am a full-time rugby player which was something in 2016 I never even thought was possible. It has been a really cool journey.

“Back then, if I wasn’t at rugby I was studying and I seemed to be here, there and everywhere trying to fit everything in. It was tough at times, but we were all juggling things because women’s rugby wasn’t in the place it is now.

“To see the journey we as players have been on and the journey that the Scottish women’s programme has been on is amazing and there is a bright future.

“Hopefully professional contracts and the support we get will only grow and grow and it’ll give the next generations something to really aim for and realise that rugby can be a career for young females.”

Over the years, McMillan has formed many close friendships with her international team mates and that is something she cherishes.

“There are a group of core players who have been in and around the squad since I first started playing and it is so good to think just how much better we have got as individuals and as a team since then,” she said.

“We have been through so many tough times, but these are now the good times and the sisterhood and friendships that we have formed are so very special to me.

“There are so many great personalities in the squad, there are girls who walk into a room and just bring energy. I personally am on the social committee so when we have socials once a week I want to bring happiness and joy to everyone.”

Here’s hoping the team can bring happiness and joy to what is set to be a bumper 5,000 plus crowd at the Hive and mark McMillan’s big day in style.

Scotland: Meryl Smith; Rhona Lloyd, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Coreen Grant; Helen Nelson, Caity Mattinson; Leah Bartlett, Elis Martin, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Louise McMillan, Rachel Malcolm (C), Alex Stewart, Evie Gallagher. Subs: Molly Wright, Lisa Cockburn, Elliann Clarke, Fiona McIntosh, Eva Donaldson, Mairi McDonald, Nicole Flynn, Chloe Rollie.

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the main image of Louise McMillan and Louise herself for the image of her and sister Siobhan

During the Guinness Women’s Six Nations period through to the end of April, GH Media will be covering all aspects of women’s rugby in Scotland via reports, features and interviews…

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