Two years ago when Scotland’s women played Ireland at home a then 17-year-old Louise McMillan was supporting from the Broadwood stands and witnessed a painful 73-3 demolition.
Last weekend the exciting back-row prospect was on the field in Cumbernauld playing a big part as Shade Munro’s side were pipped by the Irish 22-15 courtesy of a heartbreaking stoppage-time try.
“We played some great rugby and it was so encouraging,” said the 19-year-old Hillhead-Jordanhill player, who now juggles her rugby with studying law at Glasgow University.
“Some of the girls were talking about disappointment after the game, but for me it was like ‘oh my goodness, we can compete with these kinds of teams’ and it was a really positive game for me.”
Scotland face champions France in La Rochelle tonight and McMillan, who won her first full international caps in the World Cup play-off losses to Spain at the end of last year, knows it will be an extremely tough challenge. But she was keen to stress the positive attitude flowing through the camp.
“The belief and confidence in ourselves built throughout the game,” said McMillan. “Ireland play a really expansive game so for us to keep getting round the corner and defending well was exciting to be part of.
“This is my first year involved and having watched the group come on from previous seasons has been great. It is brilliant to be a part of it now.”
McMillan is braced for a bruising encounter on France’s Atlantic coast tonight.
“They are huge girls so I am expecting physicality,” she said.