Women’s 6N: It’s all about Lou as family pay tribute to “doggedly determined” 50-capper McMillan

Gary Heatly

Before she earned her 50th Scotland cap versus France in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations second round match Louise McMillan spoke about her desire to make her family proud every time she pulls on the national team jersey.

Well, the 26-year-old certainly made them proud with her performance at Hive Stadium as the Scots pushed the number three side in the world all the way before losing out 15-5.

And Louise has made her family proud all the way through her rugby career from the Mini days at Birkmyre, to Hillhead Jordanhill, to balancing a law degree with playing for her country to now being a 50-capper who plays the sport full-time via Scottish Rugby and Saracens down south.

After she was awarded her 50th cap post-match her team mates sang a version of McFly’s It’s all about you handily called It’s all about Lou – and below is all about Lou from those who know her best…

“She has always been so focused”

Parents Brian and Katie, who were in Edinburgh to see her reaching the milestone along with a number of family members and partners, have been with her since the very start of the journey.

They said:  “Lou really got into her rugby when she left high school and we were really proud when she was made captain of the top club team in Scotland [Hillhead Jordanhill] in her first year at university.

“We were also very worried about her ability to study and play rugby, more so when she joined the first academy intake, but she took it all in her stride and has always put the hard work in.

“We are incredibly proud of the support she has provided to other players – younger and older – through some of the very difficult episodes over the years and she’s always been very active behind the scenes and has consistently stood up to the powers that be in behind the scenes.

“Lou is doggedly determined – the commitment that has gone in behind the scenes over the years has been amazing, such as hitting the gym on Christmas day and persevering when results haven’t gone their way.

“She has always been so focused and has had belief in the long-term goals.

“After the France match she was doing selfies and autographs literally until the security threw them out of the tunnel.

“She really puts it all back into the game, encouraging the following generation of players and she has had a great career so far which we have loved following.”

“Louise’s work ethic is amazing”

Louise is Scotland cap 196 while sister Siobhan previously played for her country too and is cap 202.

Siobhan said:  “I thought Louise played really well versus France, my brother Scott and I probably deafened everyone around us when she had the first steal in the lineout!

“Scotland’s defence was amazing and it is a shame the score was what it was at the end. We couldn’t have been prouder of her and we got the chance to see her be awarded her 50th cap pitchside at the Hive with all the aunts, uncles and cousins.

“Louise’s work ethic is amazing, when she decides she’s doing something she really puts the work in and it shows. She managed to balance training and playing for Scotland all through her law degree at uni whilst also captaining Hills. I remember her getting her first cap [versus Spain in 2016] and watching in the stands at Scotstoun with a broken thumb and being so jealous, I wanted to be out there too. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to play alongside her for Scotland and I treasure that time of my life.

“Playing with Louise for Scotland when I earned my first cap in Wales [in 2018] will always be one of my favourite memories. She’s grown so much from her first cap and I’m so proud that she’s now killing it down south as a professional rugby player. I am not surprised by the fact she earned her 50th caps because she has put in so much hard work and dedication in over the years. I’m sure we’re going to be watching her earn several more caps in the future too.”

Siobhan and co could be seen in the stands at the France match holding up a banner celebrating Louise’s achievement, but her siblings have let us into a little secret which meant their time pre-match was a bit more stressful than it should have been.

“The sign that we’re all holding up in the stands is actually one we created on the fly because we left the very nice sign that Devin, my brother Scott’s girlfriend who has a fine art degree, made on the kitchen table,” Siobhan explained.

“We bought some supplies from Sainsburys and were making the new sign 30 minutes before kick-off, Devin drew all the letters and five of us were colouring them in. I think we finished five minutes before the teams ran out for anthems, but it was worth it.”

“If there was ever a person that deserves 50 caps it’s Louise”

Brother Scott said:  “Louise has come a long way from playing in Broadwood football ground at 18-years-old.

“In a time where there was next to no support for woman’s rugby it was difficult to see a future apart from a few moments in the limelight and she needed a way to support herself.

“She won a scholarship year with Pinsent Mason – the top legal firm in Scotland – and during that time and through her university years Louise was up before everybody to train at Scotstoun, then she’d go to work or uni to study law, then train with her club in the evening.

“Ever the one to show her mum and dad how her older brother had really not tried that hard during his uni stint ‘well she can’t keep this up for ever’ I thought.

“Nope, she can, a full-time job at Morgan Stanley – one of the top 10 financial services firms in the world – came whilst still maintaining a role in the Scotland squad.

“In fact, with camps becoming more frequent at that time – and now slightly subsidised – she had to use every single holiday and a few extra ones to train and play with Scotland. ‘Well that can’t be maintained surely’ I thought.

“Wrong again! She kept that up for over a year and a half an then eventually she landed a contract at an English Premiership club. ‘Well, who’s that going to be’ I thought ‘someone small, maybe mid-table, close to Edinburgh for Scotland camps?’ Nope one of the clubs with the best winning records, Saracens. Aye that one with Owen Farrell and Marlie Packer both England captains on the payroll – plus my sister!

“Louise has never changed during this time, she’s still the kind-hearted little sister I’ve always known; constantly pushing herself, constantly working hard and not stopping until the job is done. Other people are obviously picking up on what I’ve known for a long time that this girl is the strongest workhorse and she ain’t stopping until she’s satisfied she’s done enough.

“If there was ever a person that deserves 50 caps it’s Louise – and I don’t see her stopping any time soon.”

Thanks to the McMillan family for three of the photos and Scottish Rugby/SNS for two of them

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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