It has been a big few months for Rachel Malcolm on and off the pitch, but her biggest moment to date will come this afternoon when she captains Scotland against Wales at Scotstoun.
The 28-year-old back-row has been in and around the Scotland set-up since she made her debut as a hooker in 2017.
However, due to a number of untimely injuries she only has 13 caps to her name to date and the former hockey player, whose brother James plays for London Scottish, is now ready to kick on as the Scots focus on making the World Cup in New Zealand in 2021.
In around a year’s time the team will be facing a World Cup qualifying event and all matches leading up to that point are warm-ups for those key fixtures.
Head coach Philip Doyle’s time in charge got off to the perfect start with two Test wins in South Africa in September and October, but the Irishman knows this Autumn Test with Wales in Glasgow will be a tougher battle.
When Helen Nelson was ill in South Africa, Doyle turned to Malcolm to lead the team and he liked what he saw, now naming her skipper for the rest of the season.
The honour caps a great period for Loughborough Lightning player Malcolm.
In July she completed her PhD in Environmental Physiology at Nottingham Trent University.
The last five years of part-time study while she has also been working as a lecturer and playing top-level rugby for club and country have all been worthwhile as she is now a doctor.
“It has been a hectic few years, but I have loved every minute of it,” she explained. “I was quite emotional when I was named captain, but just extremely happy and grateful for the opportunity. I think my students must have been confused as to why I was suddenly so happy after I took the phone call!
“After it sunk in and I managed to calm down, my focus turned to doing the best job I could for the squad.
“I am really excited to get going with this Wales game and hopefully for an exciting season ahead with Scotland.”
When Scotland and Wales met at the same ground during the Six Nations in March the visitors won 17-15.
Stand-off Lisa Martin, inset, is due to win her 50th cap for the hosts while backs Sarah Denholm and Evie Tonkin could debut off the bench.