December ambassador

Meghan Gaffney

Megan Gaffney is an international rugby player with 25 caps for Scotland Women, and inclusion in the initial Great Britain Olympic training squad for Rio 2016. Since her debut in 2012, Megan has represented her country in both 15s and 7s variants and is aiming to qualify for Great Britain 7s at the Tokyo Olympics and for Scotland 15s at the World Cup in 2021.

How have you been coping during lockdown 2.0?

I have been lucky and managed to avoid a second lock down. Where I live in Scotland is moving to level 2 next week which is very exciting. I feel fortunate that I have been able to train since August and have a bit of normality in my life!

What has it been like to return to training and competition?

It was bizarre at first, but it is just normal now. We built things up slowly after lockdown to avoid injury but now we’re back to a pretty normal training week. Obviously wearing masks to train and using hand sanitizer every time you stop took a bit of getting used to but it’s habit now, and I know if we want to be continue to be allowed to train it’s really important to follow the rules to keep everyone safe. It’s been so good getting back into it though, months of running up and down a rugby pitch on your own is very lonely!

Where did it all begin – how did you get into rugby?

I was a sporty kid and just wanted to try everything. I started playing rugby when I was in primary school at North Berwick Minis, mostly because I wanted to be one of the boys. There was not a lot of options for girls to play team sports, so I think that really appealed, and I was a complete tomboy who loved getting muddy. Rugby also allowed me to be competitive which I think is hard to find in girls’ sports at that age, so it was good to have an outlet for that. I stopped playing in high school as there wasn’t a girls team in the area but picked the sport up again when I was about 15 after a teacher started a girls team at my school and have played ever since.

What has been your greatest sporting achievement?

Representing your country is always special and it is something I always dreamed of when I was younger, so I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to do that at both 7s and 15s. It’s frustrating that covid hit when it did as we both squads had some big qualifier tournaments for the 7s World Series and the 15s World Cup, which have had to be pushed back.

Back in 2015 I was in the initial training squad for the GB 7s squad for the 2016 Olympics. I didn’t make the final cut but I’m hoping to get another opportunity next year for Tokyo 2020!

What motivates you to train and compete at the elite level?

I like feeling part of something. I get to do my favourite thing with my favourite people so it’s ideal! It’s definitely my team mates that motivate me if I’m ever having a rough day and don’t want to train, I just remember that they will be training hard so I need to do the same, I would hate to let them down. I enjoy pushing my body to the limit and eve though I’ve been involved in elite sport for over 10 years I still get such a rush when you get a PB because I know my body has done something it’s never ever done before.

If you could be a top athlete in another sport, which sport and why?

Gymnastics! I’d love to be able to do those flips! And gymnastics seems to be one of the sports where opportunities and coverage are similar for men and women.

Do you have an athlete role model who inspired you?

When I was younger, I was completely obsessed with Paula Radcliffe. I used to do a lot of athletics and though she was amazing. I always admired her never give up attitude and I think that’s stuck with me through my career.

What advice do you have for young girls who aspire to play elite rugby?

Do not pigeonhole yourself too early. There is lots of skills from different sports that you can bring into rugby so try lots of different sports, so you are a well-rounded athlete. Obviously practice your physical skills but also work on off field skills that make you a good teammate. To get to the top you will have to play in lots of different teams, with lots of different players and under different coaches so being able to work well with a variety of people if important. And there’s no substitute for hard work!

How do you relax outside of rugby?

By avoiding rugby! I’m not someone that watches a lot of rugby. I’m not very good at sitting still so I like taking the dog for a walk or meeting friends (when covid wasn’t a thing). I am also a massive fan of brownies so like to try as many of them as possible.

How does Beet It Sport help your performance?

I have been using Beet It Sport shots for a few years now before matches and can definitely feel the difference. I feel like I can last for longer during games and I can produce a high work rate for the full 80 minutes!