Women’s 6N: Recent student McIntosh now keen to graduate to a full Scotland cap

Gary Heatly

Fi McIntosh did not get onto the pitch during the WXV 2 winning campaign at the end of 2023, but being with the Scotland squad in South Africa has spurred her on even further to reach her goal of a first full cap.

The uncapped second-row, 24, is part of the group currently preparing for the Guinness Women’s Six Nations which get underway this weekend against Wales in Cardiff (March 23 at 4.45pm, live on BBC Sport).

And, having been in good form for Saracens in the PWR in England this season and turned out for Edinburgh Rugby in the Celtic Challenge, she is keen to make the step up to full international honours if selected over the coming weeks.

“Obviously the goal of being in Scotland and being in camp is to get a cap and contribute to us going out and winning games and everything – it’s something that I want to do,” she said.

“It’s a goal that I’m working towards and I hope that it comes at some point soon, hopefully.

“Being in the squad for WXV 2 was the first time I was in and around an international standard of rugby, so it was a very steep learning curve and it was a lot more fast paced with a lot more details around the structure and the way we play and everything like that.

“But for me to be surrounded by players who are such a high standard and learn from them and learn from different coaches and get a lot of individual feedback was brilliant for my development.

“It’s an amazing environment in camp. All of the girls are so positive with everything that we do. We have such a belief as a team.

“And I think that really showed in WXV 2 when things came down to the very last minute to find out if we were going to win it or not.

“It’s amazing to be a part of this environment with everyone supporting each other, everyone having such belief that we are going to continue to win things and continue to grow and just be the best team that we can possibly be.”

McIntosh has strong Scottish roots despite having spent her life down south.

“The entirety of my dad’s family is all Scottish,” she explained.

“My grandparents, my dad and my mum’s parents are also Scottish.

“We always joke as a family that the only thing that makes me and my brothers English in any way is the fact that we were born down there!

“My dad is a very, very proud Scot, so he was  extremely happy when I got invited into the Scotland training camp for the first time.

“I started playing rugby at Old Alleynians in South London because my dad coached, and my brother played rugby and I wanted to do absolutely everything that he did as a kid.

“So, I started playing rugby because of that and then went away to college and was on a rugby scholarship at Hertford College.

“That’s where my rugby continued to develop before I had a little time out from rugby and decided to go and be a rower for a while.”

McIntosh enjoyed her rowing experience and believe it taught her many sporting and life skills which she still uses today, but the call of rugby was just too much.

She continued:  “I decided to come back to rugby and my first women’s team was Richmond. They then got relegated and I got a call from Alex Austerberry, the Saracens head coach, and he said ‘we’d love to have you here’.

“So, I joined Saracens and I’ve been there for four seasons now.

“I then got a call from [Scotland head coach] Bryan Easson asking me to come in for WXV 2 camp last year and I jumped at the opportunity really.”

When she first joined Saracens, McIntosh was completing a degree at St George’s, University of London in biomedical science.

She then took a year out before going back to studies last year and finished a masters degree at King’s College London in global health and global surgery just before the trip to South Africa a few months ago.

“For now rugby is definitely the main focus,” McIntosh said.

“The end of my degree came right before we went into WXV camp, so it was kind of perfect timing to be able to fully throw everything into that, focus on that, and then obviously through the Six Nations be able to focus fully on rugby.”

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the image of Fi McIntosh

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