Jade Konkel admits there were times over the past 15 months when she wondered if she would ever return to the rugby pitch.  

When Konkel suffered a serious ankle injury on duty for Harlequins last November, it was the third time the Scotland number eight had been felled with the same problem. 

Konkel explained: “It was syndesmosis in my ankle.  

“I first did it in February 2023 and had surgery then, and did it again last May and also spiral fractured my fibula, so had to have that plated and screwed.  

“Then this time, because I’d done it three times and because of the plates and the screws, it was a bit more complicated again.” 

Far from being common, Konkel explains just how unlucky she has been to suffer the same injury on three separate occasions.  

“The surgeon hadn’t seen anyone do it three times, let alone three times in one year,” she said.  

“It was all different mechanisms as well – the first time I got landed on funny, the second one was an outside twisting motion, and the third was an inside twisting motion.” 

When she suffered the injury in November, Konkel hoped she would be fit for the Guinness Women's Six Nations.  

It was not to be, with problems adjusting to the feeling in her ankle causing delays to her return to the field.  

Konkel, who was born in Inverness, and brought up on the Black Isle, admitted there were times during her latest recovery that she wondered if a return would be possible at all.  

“It’s felt like a very long 15 months,” she said.  

“Within that there’s been the comebacks, then coming back out, so there’s been a fluctuation of emotions – the highs and lows throughout have taken their toll.  

“The stress around it being the third injury and the tramua my ankle had gone through definitely put questions in my head [about stopping]. 

“Once I’d done it in November I thought I’d be back for the Six Nations but the feeling with all the foreign objects in my leg was really uncomfortable.  

“I did wonder ‘how is this going to feel on the pitch?’ and if I’d be able to change direction, or how I’d go through those uncontrolled movements of being twisted. All those things go through your head because there is so much metal and it is quite stiff.  

“With the great support team I’ve got, everyone was very reassuring. We didn’t know how the ankle was going to heal but we had to take each day as it came.” 

Konkel was rewarded for her persistence with a try-scoring appearance from the bench as Quins beat Ealing Trailfinders in Women’s Premiership Rugby on Sunday.  

Scotland Rugby News: Jade Konkel on her latest comeback against Ealing TrailfindersJade Konkel on her latest comeback against Ealing Trailfinders (Image: Harlequins/Shuterstock/Andrew Fosker)

She was delighted to get back on the pitch.  

She added: "There was a big feeling of relief. I was pleased to be back and build a bit more confidence.” 

Now, Konkel wants to focus on getting as many minutes on the field before the end of the domestic season, and get a good run into the WXV competition with Scotland later in the year.  

The 30-year-old, who was appointed Harlequins captain at the start of the season, said: “For me it’s not just banking minutes, it’s about putting in performances to get myself where I need to be, but also to finish the season on a positive with Harlequins.”  

If she can find her best form again, Konkel’s return will no doubt be welcomed by Scotland head coach Bryan Easson. 

In Konkel’s absence, Evie Gallagher has established herself as the first choice at number eight, while teenager Alex Stewart was one of the shining lights from a disappointing Six Nations campaign.  

Konkel, an 11-year Test veteran with 62 caps, welcomes that competition for places.  

She added: “I’m really pleased we’ve got more back-row coming through.  

“It keeps us all pushing and that's what you want. That’s what’s going to make us better as a nation.”  

Scotland Rugby News: Evie Gallagher and Alex Stewart were two of Scotland's outstanding performers during the Six NationsEvie Gallagher and Alex Stewart were two of Scotland's outstanding performers during the Six Nations (Image: SNS)

And Konkel hopes to extend her Scotland career beyond next year’s World Cup, which they missed a chance at securing qualification for after losing to Ireland. However, Scotland should earn a place through WXV.  

Konkel said: “I think over the last 15 months you just don’t know, but I’d like to continue playing after the World Cup. As long as I’m competing, fit and enjoying it, I’m going to want to keep going for as long as I can, then take the step away when it’s right for me.  

“I still feel like I’ve got so much more to give in a Scotland shirt. I’ve been in the set-up since 2012 [capped in 2013] and there have been constant changes for the better, and you want to keep being part of that.  

“I’ll know when the right time is but I’ve got a lot more to give."