Interview: Katie Dougan, Edinburgh student & Scotland international rugby player
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After representing Edinburgh University and Scotland in a fantastic season of rugby, we spoke to Katie Dougan about her achievements and those of her teams.
Katie spoke to us about her first international against Ireland, which Scotland lost despite a half-time lead.
“It was a brilliant performance, we played more like we know we can,” Katie told us. Adding an emphasis on Scottish progress, she continued: “Compared to the last two years against Ireland, last week’s game was a different story… to lose out in the last play is gutting, however getting a losing bonus point is a slight consolation.”
Photo credit: Dawn Law
Playing at international level has been a challenge that has been relished by Katie and her team mates, she told us “the game is much faster and more physical than any club game, but I am loving the opportunity to learn from more experienced players.”
Katie’s position leaves her particularly able to benefit from this experience and the great coaching available at international level, as she explained: “Being a prop, scrummaging at international level is especially different to club level so spending a lot of time on technique and learning little tricks of the trade have been really valuable for me.”
At club level Edinburgh University have just become the first Scottish team to win the women’s BUCS League. Katie was keen to tell us how meteoric the club’s rise has been: “When I started in first year we were in the BUCS Scottish 1A and won promotion that year; since then we have been working our way up the table. We came a close second last year so to finally win this year feels pretty good.”
While Edinburgh took the title with confidence, it wasn’t all plain sailing, as Katie told us. Naming their toughest rivals as Durham Katie explained: “Both our games against them were tight this year, but losing out to them in the last few minutes of the away game was especially tough. The girls knew what we had to change coming into the Newcastle game though, and executed it perfectly.” Showing that resilience against Newcastle embodies the spirit that paved the way for this landmark Edinburgh victory.
We also have Katie the unenviable task of naming Edinburgh’s player of the season and, while she stressed that the win was a team effort above all, she conceded: “If I had to pick… I think Liusaidh McMaster has had a cracking season in the second row and really relished being a leader on the pitch.”
Katie was quick to spread credit elsewhere though, hastily adding: “In the backs, removing our four internationals from the equation, I would pick Amy Walter, our ever reliable fullback who has enjoyed lots more attacking rugby this season, slotting into numerous positions.”
Katie also noted the on-going growth in women’s rugby in Scotland, and she’s optimistic that Edinburgh University’s team are doing their bit to help the sport’s growth and women’s sport on the whole: “We put a lot of focus on our publicity and as a result more people know about rugby and are talking about it.”
Commenting on the growth of their club Katie told us: “There is a new Scottish league this year, which our 2nd XV are playing in, meaning there are more university sides playing than ever before. The style of play is quite different to the Scottish club scene I think, a bit faster and less physical so it develops a slightly different skill set which I think can only be a good thing.”
Altogether things are looking up for the Edinburgh women and women’s rugby in Scotland is showing important signs of growth, both through the international scene and at a grassroots level.
Katie's even got her own meme...
For more from the EULRFC ladies, visit their website here.