Scotland’s Six Nations clash with Ireland last year will be remembered not only for the team finishing with consecutive wins after 12 straight defeats, but also for the stunning solo try scored by Francesca McGhie.  

McGhie announced herself on the international stage as she slalomed through the Irish defence to score her first Test try as Scotland sealed a 36-10 win in Edinburgh.  

With the two sides set to meet in Belfast tomorrow, the try has been doing the rounds on social media again this week.  

McGhie though is taking it all in her stride.  

Reflecting on her efforts 12 months ago, the 20-year-old said: “It was certainly quite special.  

 “It was definitely funny waking up in the morning and seeing how many people had started following you, how many people would comment on things. It did happen very quickly.  

“It happened fast but I didn’t really thank about it too much. It just sort of happened.” 

It capped a remarkable rise for someone who only started playing rugby in 2018 for East Lothian and Borders Girls based at Preston Lodge, before moving to Watsonians the following year.  

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She signed with Leicester Tigers ahead of the Premiership Women’s Rugby season and is one of several Scotland caps among the Tigers squad.  

She admitted that was a big decision, but that playing in the top flight of English rugby has helped improve her game.  

“I definitely made the right decision,” McGhie, who will win her 12th cap at Kingspan Stadium tomorrow, added.  

She continued: “Leicester has been a real fundamental step in the right direction for my rugby.  

“Playing week in, week out against players who all play for different nations - it’s always going to make you a better player. Whether you have a good game, whether you win or not, it’s always a good step.” 

The winger missed the first two matches of Scotland’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations campaign with pneumonia but returned from the bench against England before securing starting spots for the last two matches.  

She said: “I’d been ill for a couple of weeks before the campaign started.  

“I had actually broken my thumb and had to go to hospital, and I think I got a chest infection from there. It just never went away and I ended up with pneumonia. 

“Coming off the bench against England, I was just happy to be running about again and not having to go and sleep for a couple of hours afterwards just being so tired. 

During the championship, McGhie was one of three Scotland players – alongside centurion Donna Kennedy and Lisa Thomson – to be honoured with statues to commemorate their place as ‘trailblazers’ in the game.  

Scotland Rugby News:

McGhie, who was a dancer with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before getting into rugby, said seeing the giant blue statue on the streets of Edinburgh, then at Hive Stadium, was a surreal moment.  

She said: “I wouldn’t have thought of myself as a trailblazer like they describe it, I’ve only just come to rugby really.

“It was quite an incredible experience - one, getting it done, and then two, to see it on Castle Street and then at the Hive, people taking photos of it, yeah, it was amazing.” 

“It is a very weird thought that there is a statue of myself out there.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, the winger echoed the sentiments of team-mate Molly Wright and head coach Bryan Easson that Ireland will bring a reaction after being hammered 88-10 by England last Saturday.  

And while victory in Belfast would secure Scotland’s place at next year’s Rugby World Cup, McGhie said their focus remains on securing a third away win of the campaign.  

"It definitely will be a tough match,” she said. 

“We’ll just go into this game looking for the rugby that we want to play. Ireland aren't going to be an easy team to play against: they’re very physical and we’ve just got to bring it to them.” 

While admitting it would be a “dream” to reach the World Cup next year, McGhie insisted the squad haven’t discussed it in the build-up this week.  

She said: "We’re really just looking forward to this game and ending the campaign the way that we want to and being proud of all of our performances.” 

Scotland team update

Scotland hooker Lana Skeldon will miss the clash Ireland. 

Skeldon, who missed the defeat to France earlier in the campaign with a knee injury, was named in the initial starting XV but withdrew on Friday due to an unspecified injury.  Elis Martin will now start at hooker. 

Meanwhile, Molly Wright - initially named at loosehead prop - has shifted out of the starting XV to the bench and will provide hooker cover, with Leah Bartlett now set to wear the number one jersey. Lisa Cockburn fills the spot vacated on the bench.