Jade Konkel has become Scotland’s first ever full-time female rugby player after being signed by the SRU.
The Scottish internationalist has played 23 times for her country and the No.8 is captain of Hillhead Jordanhill.
The 22-year-old will now commit to being a stage three player in the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy and will fulfil a full-time programme at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld.
She said: “I was very emotional when they offered me the role because it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s difficult to find the words to describe how special this opportunity is to me.
“I’m relishing this opportunity and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. It’s a huge honour to focus all my time and energy on becoming a better athlete, for myself and for Scotland.
“This the beginning of a new journey for Scotland Women with more investment and time being put into the game, following on from the appointment of a full-time coach and the support from the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy that started last year.
“There’s a massive opportunity for women in this sport to grow and hopefully going full-time shows it’s definitely on a path to move forward.”
The move has been made as part of the SRU’s commitment to developing the competitiveness of the women’s game.
Head of Academy and Performance Programmes, Stephen Gemmell, said: “The BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy is an integrated pathway for the most talented rugby players, with today’s announcement an illustration that the only barrier is an individual’s ability and desire.
“We hope and expect it will be an inspiration to all women in the sport, however it’s important to understand that Jade has been selected on merit, based on her performances, attitude, commitment, and propensity to improve; as part of a national selection process alongside all of our identified talented players.”
Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson added: “This is a significant step for both Scottish Rugby and the women’s game and I’m delighted Jade is the first professional female player given her undoubted talent and passion for representing her country.
“This demonstrates our commitment to women’s rugby and focus on ensuring the athlete pathway can develop and support this generation of talented players.”