Women’s 6N: Caity used to live on Skye – now she hopes that the sky is the limit for “special” Scottish squad

Gary Heatly

Just over two years ago Caity Mattinson made her debut for Scotland and was taking a bit of a step into the unknown, but now she could not feel more at home within the squad.

Since that first cap versus Colombia in the final Rugby World Cup qualifier in Dubai in February 2022 that helped Scotland reach the showpiece event in New Zealand later that year, scrum-half Mattinson has gone on to earn 18 caps in total and is on a professional contract with Scottish Rugby.

Now 27, she was a key part of the group that won the last two matches in the Six Nations last year and then won WXV 2 in South Africa.

Before the Colombia match it was a step into the unknown for her because, in 2017 and 2018, she won seven caps for England.

The Inverness-born playmaker, who mainly grew up in England and played her youth rugby at Tynedale, recounts changing allegiance and said:  “As soon as it came through that World Rugby had changed the eligibility laws, I spoke straight away about wanting to play for Scotland.

“I was born up here and Scottish rugby had always been a big passion of mine – I just fell into the English pathway because that’s where I was living at the time.

“I was born in Inverness but we actually lived on the Isle of Skye. We were there for three years. I have a twin sister [Hannah] and we didn’t have family up there, so mum and dad thought that with twins we needed to be closer to my dad’s parents down in Northumberland. That’s why we moved.

“Fast forward to now and it’s surreal that I have now played for Scotland for over two years.

“I was talking to Emma Orr about it because she came into the set up just after me and we were just saying that it feels like we’ve been here forever, but also it’s just gone in the blink of an eye. It’s crazy that it’s been over two years.

“It’s been one of the best things I have ever done.”

After the aforementioned Colombia match, Scotland went on a 12-game losing streak before turning things around in dramatic fashion since, a 29-21 victory over Italy in April last year kicking things off. It was followed by positive results versus Ireland, Spain, South Africa, USA and Japan.

They now go into this year’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations looking for a seventh Test win in a row against Wales in the opener at the Cardiff Arms Park this coming Saturday (March 23 at 4.45pm, live on BBC Sport).

Wales have been a bogey side over the years, but a victory would make it a record streak for Scotland since women’s internationals began for them back in 1993.

The previous six win run came back in 1997 and 1998.

“I’m really proud of being involved in that [the more recent six match winning streak],” Mattinson, the former Worcester player who is now with Gloucester-Hartpury, explained.

“From the outside it was probably really easy to be like ‘Scotland are doing really badly’ before those wins and being quite pessimistic about it.

“But I’ve always had full confidence in this group, it’s a really hard-working and really lovely group of people.

“We pulled together rather than apart and I think that’s probably why we have gone on to have a very successful run.

“It’s really special, it’s cool to have been able to change things around like that.”

“Wales is always a big game for us. There is no need for us to hype that up emotionally. This is the game that everybody wants to win.

“That is the first job of the tournament, so all eyes are on that at the moment. We want to make sure that we’re absolutely prepared for Cardiff.”

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the image of Caity Mattinson who was recently at Malleny Park coaching the Currie Chieftains female players along with Scotland team mates Rachel McLachlan and Mairi McDonald

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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