Source: Northampton Saints

Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm can’t wait for SuperPWR Weekend!

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Loughborough Lightning captain Rachel Malcolm hopes the growing success of women’s rugby will inspire more young people to take up the sport.

Lightning take on Sale Sharks on Sunday 3 March as part of the SuperPWR weekend, a spotlight round of fixtures where all four Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby games will be streamed live across TNT Sports, YouTube, and TikTok Sports.

Malcolm hopes the opportunity for fans to tune into all four matches can help engage a new generation of rugby players take to the pitch as the women’s game continues to go from strength to strength.

She said: “A massive part of growing the women’s game is getting these high-level matches out there for people to see. The standard of the PWR league is higher than it’s ever been so it’s a brilliant time to put that advert out.

“We’ve seen the impact of more and more games getting streamed in the numbers of people coming to watch and the number of young girls and boys we’re inspiring along the way.

“It’s brilliant for us, we feel like we’ve got a fanbase growing there and particularly a young fanbase as well, being inspired by the role models in our team.”

Like many women’s rugby players, Malcolm has had to manage working for a living alongside playing competitive professional sport. She earned a PhD in environmental physiology and lectures in Applied Sport Science at Nottingham Trent University.

And the Lightning skipper hopes more eyes on the current game can provide the growth that means the next generation of players can simply focus on their rugby.

She said: “It’s always been a bit of a challenge! I couldn’t have done it without the support of my direct supervisor, who’s always had my back. The unsung heroes are those people in industry who support female athletes to juggle the two.

“It was exhausting before we got professional or semi-professional contracts, but it was necessary because we weren’t funded. The trajectory for funding for women’s rugby is on a very steep upward curve and as we grow eyes on the game and its standard, it’ll hopefully become a legitimate career for more people at club level as well as international to do as a full-time job.”

Malcolm will once again captain Scotland at the 2024 Women’s Six Nations next month, where she will hope to lead her side to an improvement on last year’s fourth-place finish.

But before her thoughts turn to international duty, Malcolm is focused on domestic duties with Lightning where she is enjoying the challenge of developing a new-look team.

She said: “We’ve got a completely new coaching setup and a lot of young players coming through, and we’ve built a new kind of brand of rugby.

“We’ve had some ups and downs in terms of results but that’s part of working with a new coaching team and new players. The trajectory is really exciting and we’re a really strong group which is going to allow us to push on.”

Lightning currently sit fifth but are keen to push into the top four, and Malcolm knows victory against Sharks on SuperPWR weekend will be key to those ambitions.

She added: “Sale Sharks v Lightning is always a pretty heated contest for some reason, we seem to have quite a rivalry with them. They play a really physical brand of rugby and have a huge number of talented players.

“We’ll need to match their physicality to go out and get the win.”

With thanks to the PWR

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