Emma Wassell: I can’t even imagine what my dad would make of me going to a World Cup

Scotland star Emma Wassell’s father never got to see his daughter play rugby, but if he was still here the second-row knows he would be “bursting with pride” as she gets ready to appear at the World Cup in New Zealand.

Emma Wassell will add to her 57 caps when Scotland play at the Rugby World Cup in October.
Emma Wassell will add to her 57 caps when Scotland play at the Rugby World Cup in October.

David Wassell was a keen rugby player and was a stalwart of the Ellon club in Aberdeenshire and also represented Dalziel and other clubs.

Sadly, he passed away through illness in 2004, a few years before his daughter ever picked up a rugby ball.

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She took up the game at Ellon when she was 15 after the club’s coach at the time Mike Avis convinced her to give it a go - and straight away she was hooked.

Fast forward over a decade and Loughborough Lightning player Wassell is the most capped current Scotland player with 57 appearances to her name and will be key when they take on Wales, Australia and New Zealand in Pool A during October.

“I can’t even imagine what my dad would make of me going to a World Cup, what will always be so difficult for me is that he never knew that I even played rugby because at the time when he passed I wasn’t involved in the sport,” the 27-year-old said before the squad flew off on Friday.

“When I was that age I knew that he loved rugby and had played a lot, but I didn’t even know that females played the sport.

“There was about a five year gap between him passing and me playing, but I like to think that my love of the game has come mainly from him.

“When I was back visiting Ellon as part of a Royal Bank RugbyForce weekend recently, members of the club showed me photos of teams on the walls which featured my dad which was a really nice touch and I’m so happy I got to carry on his love of rugby.

“If he’d know that I’d taken up the game at all I think he would have been proud, but if he knew that I’d played for Scotland and was now going to a World Cup I think he would be bursting with pride.

“I know that he will be watching down on me and cheering me on, like he would have been doing from the stands if he was here.

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“He will certainly be on my mind in the lead up to the first game against Wales.”

Wassell’s father will be at Scotland’s first World Cup in 12 years at the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei on October 9 in spirit then – and her Aberdeenshire-based mother Pauline will be there in person.

It will be a crucial game versus Wales and qualified accountant Wassell said: “Mum has been a huge fan ever since I started playing rugby, but I am convinced she does not know the laws yet!

“Recently she had a cataract operation which meant that she couldn’t drive, so to help her get out to New Zealand to watch the World Cup she sold her car.

“She phoned me and said ‘I’ve sold the car and I’m coming to New Zealand’. I was quite shocked, but it shows how much she wants to be out there watching me and it will be amazing for me to have her there too.”