Emma Wassell has done plenty things off the rugby field to keep her busy in recent times, but nothing beats playing and she cannot wait to earn her 61st Test cap in the coming months all being well.
Since the second-row from Ellon made her debut for the Scottish national women’s team way back in 2014, she was always one of the first names on the teamsheet and, indeed, at one point played over 50 times without missing a game.
She has lived and breathed the highs and the lows of women’s rugby in this country over the last nine years or so and an undoubted high was earning her 60th international cap against New Zealand in New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup late last year.
However, a low came soon after as before and through that showpiece event she was managing a left knee issue and it turned out she had a hole in her articular cartilage.
It wasn’t your usual knee injury, so it took a bit of time to decide what was the right course of action for it.
“This type of injury after a graft takes time to heal, so I could not put any pressure through the knee for three months which was quite tricky,” 28-year-old Loughborough Lightning player Wassell said.
“The good news is that I got a scan after three months and it was a positive scan in terms of my healing, so I am well on the way to recovery.
“During the TikTok Women’s Six Nations it was good to be involved with some TV stuff and things like that, seeing the other side of sport a bit, but being in the stands is not something I am used to, I am not the best watcher!
“However, the Italy and Ireland home wins were brilliant and it was a pleasure to see the girls play like that and to see how the crowd reacted to their performances. They put a smile on my face and I think the fans enjoyed those games too, they can see that we are moving forward in a positive way.
“As a contracted player Scottish Rugby kept me involved in other things and events while I was doing my rehab, but all the time I have been itching to get back playing again.
“When you are playing regularly it is always a privilege, but it kind of becomes the norm. Missing the Six Nations reminded me just how much playing for Scotland means to me.
“I have never had a long-term injury like this before and the drive and determination I feel to pull on a Scotland shirt again is there, I am desperate to do so.
“I have missed playing so much, I can’t wait to represent Scotland again.”
Wassell was speaking in July on the day that Scottish Gas partnered with Scottish Rugby to help the rugby community across Scotland reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.
As part of the link up Scottish Gas are keen to drive the growth of the Scotland women’s team through shirt and stadium sponsorship as well as helping other female age-grade teams through activities over the course of the agreement.
That partnership and new strip launch event was one of the things that kept Wassell busy during her rehab while, earlier this week with a 32-strong extended Scotland squad now back in camp, she was able to attend The Royal Military Tattoo with international team mates Rhona Lloyd and Sarah Bonar.
Everything is now building up to a match in Edinburgh with Spain at the end of September and then WXV 2 in South Africa in October when matches against the hosts, USA and Japan will come thick and fast.
Wassell added: “These are very exciting times.
“The girls have just beaten Italy and Ireland, we have a large batch of us contracted now and we have to really aim to take momentum from the Six Nations into WXV 2.
“The depth in the squad is growing all of the time and there is competition for places all over the pitch, so that keeps everyone on their toes and the standards rising.
“There is a really positive feeling around just now and we just have to ride that and keep it going.
“We are building all of the time with everything leading to the World Cup in England in 2025.”
Scotland extended training squad:
Leah Bartlett (Leicester Tigers)
Christine Belisle (Loughborough Lightning)
Sarah Bonar (Harlequins)
Elliann Clarke (Bristol Bears)
Lisa Cockburn (University of Worcester Warriors)
Eva Donaldson (Leicester Tigers)
Evie Gallagher (University of Worcester Warriors)
Jade Konkel (Harlequins)
Rachel Malcolm (Loughborough Lightning, C)
Elis Martin (Leicester Tigers)
Rachel McLachlan (Sale Sharks)
Louise McMillan (Saracens)
Lana Skeldon (University of Worcester Warriors)
Nikki Simpson (Garioch)
Emma Wassell (Loughborough Lightning)
Anne Young (Sale Sharks)
Beth Blacklock (Saracens)
Shona Campbell (GB Sevens)
Coreen Grant (Saracens)
Caity Mattinson (University of Worcester Warriors)
Jenny Maxwell (Loughborough Lightning)
Mairi McDonald (Exeter Chiefs)
Francesca McGhie (Leicester Tigers)
Holly McIntyre (University of Edinburgh)
Rhona Lloyd (GB Sevens/Les Lionnes du Stade Bordelais)
Liz Musgrove (Ealing Trailfinders)
Helen Nelson (Loughborough Lightning,V-C)
Emma Orr (Heriots/Biggar)
Chloe Rollie (Loughborough Lightning)
Eilidh Sinclair (Exeter Chiefs)
Meryl Smith (Bristol Bears)
Lisa Thomson (GB Sevens)
Match tickets are on sale now for the Spain Test at Hive Stadium on September 30 at 5.45pm, click here to secure some…
Keep an eye out on GH Media’s channels for Scotland women’s coverage up to and through to the end of WXV 2 in October…
Emma Wassell is pictured with team mates during the TikTok Women’s Six Nations earlier in the year by Rugby People