Provided Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm stays fit then the women’s team can look forward to their Six Nations campaign with confidence.

The importance of the back-row forward to her side that kick off their campaign with an away match against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday cannot be underestimated.

The Loughborough Lightning flanker is one of the most inspirational figures in Scottish rugby and her mental strength and leadership qualities when her side was struggling in the last Six Nations was a masterclass in captaincy.

Scotland lost 58-7 away to England, 34-22 at home to Wales, then 55-0 to France in Vannes which was their 12th defeat in a row.

Scotland Rugby News: Rachel Malcolm's leadership is so important to Scotland Rachel Malcolm's leadership is so important to Scotland (Image: SNS)

They were staring the Wooden Spoon in the face and while some of the players around her lost confidence and others in the coaching team were quite frankly delusional and didn’t think the team was facing a crisis she kept a cool head and stood up to be counted.

She spoke well to the press ahead of the next game against Italy and when the pressure was on during it she was magnificent.

Malcolm kept the pack tight and ensured her team held their nerve to win 29-21. It was a hugely significant result as it was Scotland’s first Six Nations victory since they beat Wales 27-20 in 2021.

Malcolm was even better in the emphatic 36-10 final day win at home over Ireland scoring the fifth of the six Scotland tries.

With the inspirational Malcolm at the helm and with 23 out of the 34-strong Scotland training squad having the benefit of professional contracts this is a group with real promise heading into the Six Nations.