Scottish rugby make 'significant step' as first woman signs pro deal

Scottish rugby make ‘significant step’ as first woman signs pro deal

  • Jade Konkel has become Scotland’s first full-time professional women’s rugby player
  • The governing body Scottish Rugby also launched a new scholarship to attract top athletes from other sports
  • SRU chief executive Mark Dodson described it as “a significant step”.
Jade Konkel is determined to make the most of the “special opportunity” given to her after she was named as the first full-time female player in Scotland.

The No.8, who has 23 caps for Scotland, will now commit to life as a stage three player in the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy.

“It means everything to me,” she said. “It is a massive opportunity and one I am going to relish every moment of.

“It is an opportunity I never thought I would get and my dream has become a reality.

“It means I can put all my focus into rugby and try to become the best athlete I can.”

England enlisted 20 professionals following their 2014 World Cup success, while Sian Williams became the first Welsh woman to sign a professional contract in February.

“This demonstrates our commitment to women’s rugby,” said SRU chief executive Mark Dodson , whose organisation also appointed Shade Munro as full-time women’s coach and set up the Scottish Rugby Academy last year.

Head of academy and performance programmes Stephen Gemmell stressed that the only barrier to others following Konkel’s path is “an individual’s ability and desire”.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for Jade and one that she fully merits,” he told BBC Scotland.

“It’s important to understand that Jade has been selected on merit, based on her performances, attitude, commitment and propensity to improve as part of a national selection process alongside all of our identified talented players.”