EMMA ORR is still pinching herself after breaking into the Scotland squad for the recent TikTok Women’s Six Nations to earn her first three caps, and the centre – who celebrated her 19th birthday mid-championship – wasted no time in proving that she is ready to compete at that level.
The Scots lost all of their matches in the tournament, but the emergence of young talents like Orr, back-three player Shona Campbell and back-row Evie Gallagher was a real positive with a World Cup in New Zealand coming up in five months time.
Indeed, after the Wales match, Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm said “every now and then a special player comes along and makes you double take and for me Emma has done that”. High praise indeed, although Orr has not had much time to reflect on what she has achieved, because no sooner was the championship over than she had returned to work on the family farm and she’s also has club matters on here mind, with her beloved Biggar taking on Ayr in the National Plate Final at Murrayfield this Saturday.
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“I could not have imagined how well the Six Nations would have gone for me personally,” Orr said. “When I was brought into the wider squad ahead of the England game in April I thought I’d just be with the group at various points over the next six or seven weeks just for experience. So, during the Wales week, when I heard my name read out at number 13, I was surprised to say the least.
“That week and weekend went by in a flash and, down in Cardiff, we felt we controlled the game for 50 minutes before ending up losing, so although it was my first cap the main feeling heading home was disappointment.
“It really hit home what I had achieved when I was picked to play at Scotstoun against France the following weekend and then my family were able to come and watch – that was the end to an amazing 19th birthday week!
“When I went into the Scotland environment I thought it might be a wee bit tricky to settle in given that everyone else knew each other so well and had just qualified for a World Cup, but they could not have been more welcoming.
“Since the end of the tournament it has been good to have a bit of a rest and see my friends and family outside of rugby, but with sevens opportunities with Scotland and then the World Cup in New Zealand on the horizon hopefully it is not going to be quiet for long.
“I just want to keep working hard, improve as a player and be involved with Scotland as much as I can during the rest of 2022.”
Turning her attention to this weekend’s challenge, Orr added: “It is massive for the club’s senior women’s team to get to a finals day. We have always had a strong girls section at Biggar, but then a lot of talented players have tended to leave and go and play for Edinburgh or Glasgow clubs at senior level.
“However, thanks to the hard work of many people at the club we now have a senior women’s set-up going strong at Hartree Mill and it has been great to see a few familiar faces coming back and playing together just as I have been starting my post-age-grade career.
“This year we have already won the West League which means we will be in the National leagues next year and our ultimate aim is to get into the Premiership.”
Although National One side Ayr will start as favourites this weekend, Biggar certainly cannot be discounted as they have some talented players in their ranks.
Given Orr’s heavy recent workload, and the busy summer coming her way during the lead-up to the World Cup, there is a chance she will sit out this weekend’s match – but whether she is on the pitch, running water or cheering from the stand it will still be a special day for her.
“I was lucky enough to play at the national stadium in the past few years for Biggar age-grade teams and it was a thrill and I know the senior squad is buzzing about getting the chance to play there on Saturday,” the SRUC first year agriculture student states.
“There will be a big support heading through to Edinburgh to cheer on the team and my older sister Alison is set to be involved while my dad [James] is the club president, so it is a bit of a family affair for us at Biggar.
“My brothers [Robbie and Jamie] and my cousin [Andrew Orr] play for the men’s 1st XV too so we are never far away from a pitch and we all support each other.
“It will also just be a brilliant day for all clubs involved to be able to showcase the growth of the women’s game that is happening in Scotland just now.”
Silver Saturday finals schedule for May 14 (all at BT Murrayfield):
- National Bowl (12pm): Greenock Wanderers v Cartha Claymores
- National Plate (2.30pm): Ayr v Biggar
- Sarah Beaney Cup (5pm): Watsonians v Hillhead Jordanhill
This event is free entry, but anyone looking to attend is asked to register by Scottish Rugby beforehand by clicking HERE.