Early starts, late finishes and using annual leave for training camps: Emma Wassell goes the extra mile for Scotland

Emma Wassell hasn’t missed a Scotland game since the 2014 Six Nations and will win her 46th cap on Saturday when Italy visit Scotstoun.

Emma Wassell, in the headband, in action for Scotland during last year's draw with France in the Women's Six Nations at Scotstoun. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS

To achieve such longevity in the national side requires commitment and the lock forward has it in spades.

Wassell combines her rugby career with her job as an auditor with Anderson Anderson Brown in Aberdeen and is currently studying for her chartered accountancy exams. It’s a juggling act which can be difficult to pull off and it’s a case of early starts, late finishes and using annual leave to keep up her training commitments for the Six Nations.

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It’s a far cry from the life of the professional player and she must cast an envious eye towards her England counterparts who enjoy the luxury of full-time contracts.

“I won’t beat around the bush, it’s tough,” she admits. “It’s not an ideal situation but I’m kind of fortunate in that I’ve been in my job for five years and the people support me well. But it’s still a business and at the end of the day work needs done, whether that means me staying up late at night or getting up early pre breakfast, before training, and doing it when we’re in camp.

“With Covid, I’ve been a bit lucky because I can work from home so I have that flexibility. In the past it’s been more difficult because there’s been a whole travel element which I don’t have to consider now.

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“I still live in Aberdeen but I’ve been in an Airbnb in Edinburgh so I can be closer to the team. We’ve got big games coming up so I committed to putting myself in the best position with the team to train more consistently together. And because I can work from home, that’s something I can do.”

Scotland and Italy both lost heavily to England in their opening Six Nations matches but Wassell expects a more even contest on Saturday in Glasgow.

“I don’t fully know Italy’s situation in terms of what they’ve been able to do but they’re not a fully professional team and we’re not a fully professional team so we’ve both had that to battle with and it has been difficult over these past few months. So I would expect it to be a pretty competitive game.”

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