Interview: women’s university rugby captain, Nicola Howat, looks ahead to Varsity and the new season

The Student newspaper recently caught up with Edinburgh University Ladies Rugby Football Club’s 1st XV captain, Nicola Howat, ahead of the coming season. The Scotland international will be hoping to mirror the success of Edinburgh’s last campaign and keep the trophy room well stacked.

JS: What are you studying? 

NH: I’m just starting fourth year of veterinary medicine

JS: What is your best rugby memory?

NH: Getting my first cap against France this Six Nations was such an honour and definitely my best rugby moment so far. Winning the BUCS Cup at Twickenham in 2017 was pretty special too.

JS: Who is your rugby idol?

NH: Sarah Law, Helen Nelson and Rhona Lloyd are all girls that I have trained with a lot and when you see the amount of work they put in and knowledge they have it really is incredible. Deborah McCormack and Emma Wassell are fellow second rows who have much more experience than myself and are great whenever I have questions. To be honest I could list the entire Scotland squad here, the amount of effort they all put in is unreal.

JS: How did you discover your passion for the game?

NH: I started playing in third year of high school and played on and off for a couple years. One of the coaches got us involved in the wider Tayside & Fife U18 skill sessions and it went from there

JS: What are your interests outside of rugby?

NH: Between uni and rugby it doesn’t always feel like there’s a lot of time for much else, but just generally seeing my friends – I love food so that’s always something I’m keen for. I grew up on a farm so most holidays are spent working with my dad at home.

JS: How has your off-season been?

NH: It’s been really good! I’ve spent a lot of summer on placement so fitting training around that has been a little tricky, but we’ve just had our preseason camp and the girls are all looking strong.

JS: How much does the Scottish Varsity match mean to the squad?

NH: Varsity means a huge amount to the whole squad, just ask some of the injured players who are out! It’s the only opportunity most of us will get to play at Murrayfield with a crowd that size so making it really is special.

JS: What was it like playing at BT Murrayfield in last year’s Varsity match?

NH: Playing in Varsity is an amazing experience. It’s hard to put into words! Starting last year was incredible, especially after missing it due to injury in 2016.

JS: Are there any challenges in being 1st XV captain? 

NH: I think one of the biggest challenges is just to keep the momentum going after our league success last year and to try and keep the club as a whole growing by getting as many new girls into rugby as possible!

JS: What is the best way to get involved with EULRFC?

NH: Just give the club a message on whatever social media you prefer! @EULRFC on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or just turn up to training on a Monday or Thursday at 6pm on the 3G at Peffermill. New players are always welcome!

Image: Andy via flickr

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The Student Newspaper 2016