Megan Gaffney won 45 caps for Scotland in a 12-year international career while also representing her country in age-grade internationals and on the sevens circuit.  

She was part of the Team Scotland squad at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2021 Rugby World Cup (played in 2022 due to Covid) before retiring from international rugby last year.

Since then, she has played for the Barbarians, and works with rugby charity School of Hard Knocks.  

She will be giving Scotland Rugby News readers her thoughts on this year’s Guinness Women’s Six Nations.  

Here's her view on Scotland's championship opener in Wales this weekend. 

Scotland will head to Cardiff this weekend knowing they must deliver an 80-minute performance if they are to beat Wales.  

My last game for Scotland was against Wales at the World Cup in New Zealand. We were nowhere in the first half but managed to pull it back to be drawing, then switched off.  

At the time, it was disappointing not to get another opportunity at the World Cup but before the Wales game, I thought it could be my last game for Scotland because of the way selections were going. I was pretty aware of where I stood and although I scored two tries and thought I might get another chance, I didn’t, and that’s OK.  

It will need an 80-minute performance. In that game, we were nowhere in the first half but managed to pull it back to be drawing, then switched off. 

Wales are a really solid team, they might not have the flair of an England or a New Zealand but if you make a mistake, they will capitalise. Scotland will need to be switched on from the start.  

Scotland Rugby News: Megan Gaffney takes on the Wales defence when the sides met in 2021Megan Gaffney takes on the Wales defence when the sides met in 2021 (Image: SNS)

Looking at the two teams, Wales have Jaz Joyce back on the wing and she is such a threat. No matter how much you analyse her, she can score tries from anywhere and is someone Scotland will need to be aware of on Saturday.  

During my last Six Nations, we played at Cardiff Arms Park, and I remember it being so loud. That shows what rugby means to that nation.  

Scotland have gone with Meryl Smith at fullback ahead of Chloe Rollie, who is making her comeback from an injury. Chloe is a great player and she’s hardly missed any games for Scotland since she made her debut in 2015.  

But I think Scotland need to try new things. We have the depth now – that was always a struggle before.  

READ MORE: Alex Stewart handed Scotland debut in Women's Six Nations opener

Meryl has been around the squad for a while now, but this year at Bristol she’s come on leaps and bounds, and she has a confidence that she’s not afraid to try something.  

Alex Stewart will also make her debut in the back-row. She’s someone who has benefited from the Celtic Challenge, which has been great to bridge the gap between the Scottish club game and the girls who are playing in the PWR in England.  

Scotland Rugby News: Alex Stewart is in line for her Scotland debut against WalesAlex Stewart is in line for her Scotland debut against Wales (Image: SNS)

Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors have done a great job with their women’s teams this year.

I know from speaking to some of the players in the Irish and Welsh Celtic Challenge teams that they’re really jealous of the alignment between the men’s and women’s teams which has been great to see.

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When I first started playing for Scotland, we weren’t even in the same union as the men’s teams, so there has been real progress there in a relatively short period of time.  

There’s now about 30 women who are on full-time contracts, and it means for girls coming through, that’s all they’ll know. They won’t know what it’s like to juggle work and studying with training.  

If I had been five years younger, earning a contract would have been an easy decision, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything.