Garioch RFC are “very proud” of Nikki Simpson following her selection in the Scotland women’s extended training squad.
And seeing her training with the national team over the coming weeks as she pushes to earn a first full cap will inspire her Garioch teammates and young girls at the club to dream big.
That is the opinion of club president Peter Grant who said: “It is just fantastic for Nikki and for the club as a whole to see her being recognised at that level.
“She has worked ever so hard over the years and this call up is reward for that and we as a club at Garioch are very proud of her.
“It shows her team mates in the women’s squad what is possible while we have a girls’ section that is growing and it gives these young players a real belief that coming from this part of the world and playing for your country one day is an achievable goal.
“Over the last few years as a club we have put a lot of time and effort into growing the women’s game and (former club coach) Stuart Corsar has worked with Nikki a lot during that time.
“He is now heading up Scottish Rugby’s women’s and girls’ Regional Training Centre in Aberdeen and that should be a big help to players from Garioch and the north east to help them push on and get the training under their belts required without having to move away from the area.
“We hope that Nikki’s selection to train with Scotland shines a light on the women’s game up in this area because there are a lot of talented female players at Garioch who have big futures to look forward to.”
Simpson is Garioch’s club development officer and that sees her going into schools such as Inverurie Academy, Meldrum Academy and Kemnay Academy and encouraging youngsters to take up rugby.
The hooker starred for Garioch in their first year in the Premiership last season and that led to her being selected to play for the Thistles in the Celtic Challenge and then for the Scottish Futures.
She started for the Futures against England under-20s in Newcastle in March and did the same again against Wales under-23s at the Oriam on the outskirts of Edinburgh in April.
Fellow Garioch player Lindsey McDiarmid was involved in that second game while Simpson, Megan Hyland and Aila Ronald, who came through the club’s youth ranks before moving to Edinburgh, were in Italy in the summer with the Futures.
Hyland and Charlotte Burrows from the club have also had exposure to Scotland under-18 sevens recently, so these are exciting times at Kellands Park.
Simpson has been in camp with Scotland down in Edinburgh this week and the squad will continue to meet for regular camps before the Test match versus Spain at Hive Stadium in the capital on September 30.
Everything is building up to the new WXV 2 event in South Africa in October and Grant concluded: “If Nikki was to be named in the matchday squad to play against Spain next month then I can guarantee large numbers of people with Garioch connections would be making sure they would be there to see it live.
“Getting an international cap is a very difficult thing to do, but these are exciting times for Nikki and really exciting times for the club.
“We take a lot of pride in how our women’s and girls’ rugby programme continues to grow here.”