Charlotte Runcie talks to Gary Heatly about her comeback from injury
Whenever a player comes back from long-term injury, they always want to hit the ground running - and Ladies XV winger Charlotte Runcie has certainly done that over the last month.
Back in January the former Garioch player suffered a bad injury to her left knee away to Stewartry in the league. She tore her PCL, ruptured her MCL and there was a partial tear of the ACL which meant that she would be out for some time.
“It was quite a complex injury and there was quite a lot of uncertainty around it with a lot of different opinions about whether I should have surgery or not,” Charlotte, who has previously captained the team, said.
“If I was going to get surgery I would have been out of rugby for about 18 months, but we tried to go down the physiotherapy and brace route.
“There were a lot of visits to the doctor and others, as well as endless rehab, but it has been worth it to get back playing in the last month or so.
“Watching the girls run out at BT Murrayfield in the Sarah Beaney Cup final back in April was really tough, but I was super proud of them for getting there and after that loss I think we all knew the things we had to build on to get better this season.
“This year I have finished my degree in criminology and have also been training up to learn more about strength & conditioning and recovery processes, and over pre-season and during the early games, I kept involved with the team by helping with warm-ups and things like that.
“The squad has been enlarged with some great new players coming in and we all wanted a top four place - so all of that just left me itching to get back out on the pitch.”
That long-awaited first outing since January came off the bench away to Annan in September within 20 minutes. One try came in that 55-14 victory and then, in the 40 minutes she played in her home return against Stewartry seven days later, two tries were scored in a 109-0 triumph.
Next up was 80 minutes against Cartha Queens Park and Charlotte was on fire that day at Dumbreck, scoring five tries in the 72-7 win.
On Sunday just gone, two more tries came against Tennent’s Women’s Premier League leaders Hillhead/Jordanhill as the team pushed their hosts incredibly hard before losing out 40-39.
All of which means that the Ladies XV are sitting second in the top flight table before the league split in this shortened season, seven points behind Hills.
They have three matches left - Stirling County on October 28, Corstorphine Cougars on November 11 and Hillhead/Jordanhill on November 18 - and Charlotte cannot wait to play again and keep things going
“I was quite nervous ahead of the Annan game because I had not played in so long, but getting a try in that one helped my confidence and to have scored a few since then has been great,” the 24-year-old said.
"The competition for places in the team now is so tough and it means that everyone has raised their intensity levels and work rate at training as a result, and it is paying off.
“This is my fourth season now at the club and the atmosphere and team spirit is as good as ever. Losing to Hills was tough to take, but as a group we know we are getting closer to them and we know we can compete with them.
“The matches post-split will be fun and competitive and we will work hard in the next 10 days or so to brush up on a few things and be ready for the next outing.”