A SIX NATIONS clash between the England Women’s team and that of Scotland saw a Maryport woman make her first appearance in nearly two years.

England lock, Catherine O’Donnell of Maryport, made her return to the national squad against Scotland after two years on Saturday April 3.

England were victorious, finishing the game on the right side of 52-10.

The win was the icing on the cake for O’Donnell, 24, whose 63 minutes of competition in Doncaster saw her take a 17th England cap, her first since defeat to New Zealand in San Diego, USA, in the summer of 2019.

Persistent injuries were the reason for her absence. She said: “I had some pretty serious shin splints after the 2019 season, and when I got them scanned it turned out I actually had fractures in both sides of my shins. Just before that we found out I’d done my ACL as well, which was obviously very serious.”

O’Donnell who also plays for Loughborough Lightening said: “It was tough because especially with a lower limb injury you have to build it back up really slowly. At the start I basically had to be off my feet completely, and really slowly I was able to go on walks and bike rides.”

“I had great support from the RFU and even though rehab can get really difficult, it’s just important to focus on that end goal. I didn’t miss as much rugby as I might have done because of the lockdown, and I think I have a much better understanding of the load I can cope with now.”