Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm dedicated the win over Italy to team-mate and friend Emma Wassell, whose mum passed away last week.  

Malcolm said Wassell and her family were at the forefront of all the squad’s thoughts this week.  

“It was a very emotional day,” the Scotland captain said.  

“We are a tight knit group - Emma is my best friend as well so it is a loss that is felt by us all. 

“Pauline was ever-present in our lives, she was an amazing supporter of this team and an incredible mum to Emma. She was an incredible person.” 

Malcolm, who plays alongside Wassell for Loughborough Lightning, said keeping a lid on the emotion of the week was important before the clash against the Azzure.  

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She added: “We didn’t want to focus on it too much because obviously that could have taken us over the edge emotionally, but we had it in our hearts and we wanted to do Emma proud, and do Pauline proud, and I think we did that. 

“Our thoughts are with Emma and the rest of her family.” 

While admitting it had been an emotional week for the squad, Malcolm said it was important to focus on delivering a first win on Italian soil in 25 years.  

The Scotland captain added: “I think you have to compartmentalise to some extent and focus on what she would want. 

“I know Emma would be furious with me if I hadn’t given this game 100 per cent and I wanted to do her and Pauline proud. 

Scotland Rugby News: Rachel Malcolm with Emma Wassell earlier in the Six NationsRachel Malcolm with Emma Wassell earlier in the Six Nations (Image: SNS)

 “So it has been fairly straightforward in that respect, I have just kept working hard and wanted to do my best friend proud.” 

Wassell was initially named in the team to play England last week, but subsequently withdrew from the squad and did not travel to Parma.  

But head coach Bryan Easson revealed she did visit the squad during the build-up to the Italy game.  

He said: “Wass came in to camp last week.  She wanted to be part of things and that just shows the mark of her and the group.”