Resurgent Rachel Malcolm revealed she is chomping at the bit to kickstart the TikTok Women’s Six Nations against England after booking Scotland’s place at their first Women’s Rugby World Cup for 12 years.
The Scotland captain, 30, led her side to a 59-3 victory over Colombia in Dubai last month to ensure they will travel to New Zealand this autumn having taken full advantage of their first play-off game for six years.
And after Malcolm’s Championship was immediately and abruptly ended by a knee injury against England last year, the flanker is desperate to make up for lost time against the same opposition.
“Getting injured after two-and-a-half seconds of last year’s Championship wasn’t ideal but it was a brilliant opportunity for some of the other girls to step up and get those opportunities to play,” said Malcolm, who watched on as her teammates beat Wales to finish fifth in 2021.
“I love the Six Nations, it’s the most exciting time of year for us as athletes and we always look forward to it, so I’m absolutely chomping at the bit to get going and I can’t wait.”
The Loughborough Lightning star will face plenty of familiar foe – including her returning clubmate and last year’s top points scorer Emily Scarratt – in the opposition when Scotland host England in the opening fixture of Round 1.
And Malcolm says her side have nothing to lose despite being widely written off against a Red Roses side who are unbeaten in 18 games and begin their quest for a third successive Championship title at The Dam Health Stadium on 26 March.
“I think the way we played in that Colombia game was extremely professional and very clinical as well,” added Malcolm.
“We can take a huge amount of confidence from that but to go and do that against the best team in the world in England first off is a different challenge.
“It’s one we’ve got to be really aware of and rise to as well. It’s tough opposition, there’s absolutely no shying away from that but it’s exciting as well.
“We know that they will exploit any weaknesses we have but that also gives us a massive opportunity to learn and push forward and keep improving throughout the Championship. We are super excited to get going and can’t wait to play England.
“I think the biggest thing will be just focusing on us. England are going to bring an incredible defensive and attacking platform.
“We’ve just got to focus on everything we can do and control what we can control. We’ve got nothing to lose, I don’t think there’s anybody in world rugby who expects us to win that game but we will be giving it absolutely everything.”
With social media giants TikTok on board as the first title sponsor for the Women’s Six Nations there is added excitement for Malcolm heading into a campaign that will see fans pack out stadiums for the first time in a standalone Women’s Championship.
“In terms of moving our game forward, it’s a massive statement,” explained Malcolm.
“I think to have a brand like TikTok who are so well known and so current is even more important and I’m super excited to see how it pushes the tournament on as a result.
“When I was 15 years old, I had no idea women’s rugby even existed, so for girls to know that early doors and see the incredible athletes and people in rugby is so cool and very exciting.
“The dedicated window for the women has been brilliant. As players we have noticed a massive increase in interest and exposure which is so important in getting a bigger reach to inspire that next generation to take up rugby and play.
“We got that experience of having the fans back in the autumn and honestly it was absolutely incredible. They made so much noise and you didn’t realise what you had until it was gone.”