We catch up with Women's XV Head Coach Freddie Main...
On Sunday a Watsonians Women’s XV will take to the pitch for a competitive fixture for the first time in 18 months - and Head Coach Freddie Main for one cannot wait.
The wider squad - including some new recruits - have been training hard over the last couple of months since the Tennent’s Premiership fixtures were announced.
And there could not really be a more exciting way to start the 2021 campaign than with an away match against top flight newcomers Heriot’s Blues at Goldenacre (2pm).
“The girls have been working hard in various different phases ever since the first lockdown came last March,” Freddie, who guided ‘Sonians to the Premiership title in 2019 and will be working alongside Assistant Coach Scott Nightingale this time around, said.
“At points when there were no matches to train towards we made a point of saying to the squad that they should train for their own wellbeing and set themselves little goals so that they were always building towards something.
“We wanted them to enjoy training and feel good after sessions and they all bought into that which was great and in the last couple of months we have been able to do a lot more rugby and game specific training with the date of September 12 circled in our diaries.
“This year we will have a real blend in the team, with the experienced players being joined by some of the youngsters who are coming through and what is exciting for myself and Scott is seeing how they work together.
“The more seasoned players are really good at passing on information and helping the young ones along and because the ones in that latter group are ambitious and want to have big futures in the game they pick up things quickly and are willing to work hard as they keep learning in senior rugby.
“It could be seen as a transitional year because some familiar faces won’t be here, but if the club stalwarts and the newer players keep on working together and building that unity and togetherness then it should bode well not just for this season, but for the next few years.”
Currently club players Molly Wright and Hannah Smith, the latter of whom played sevens for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics, are away in Italy with Scotland at the World Cup qualifiers.
That shows the kind of calibre of athletes that are in the Women’s XV and if you have not been down to watch them before then try and do so this season.
The aforementioned Premiership title win came off the back of winning the Sarah Beaney Cup earlier that year and Freddie adds: “We are looking for the team to play a structured, but exciting brand of rugby and we certainly have players all around the park who are capable of producing consistent performances and some magical moments.
“As coaches we want the players to play with freedom and enjoy their rugby and hopefully anyone who comes to watch the team play in the coming weeks will see just that.
“With us being the defending champions from two years ago, other teams will be out to put one over on us, but we have confidence in the group that we can compete well in the coming months and build on where the club left off at the start of 2020.”
Get down and support the Women’s XV on Sunday if you can, kicking-off at 2pm at Goldenacre against Heriot’s Blues in the Tennent’s Premiership - the first home game is on Sunday, September 19 at 2pm versus Corstorphine
Words by Gary Heatly