It is fourteen miles from Inverness to Loch Ness, a place known around the world for its mythical monster, but Nessie’s neighbour is a sporting monster and a very real one that is frightening the life out of everything that crosses its path.
There have been many reported sightings this season, both north and south of the border, and the conclusion is that Nessie is a lightweight compared to the Inverness version.
I am in my cryptic way referring to Scotland and Harlequins number eight Jade Konkel who has been knocking the living daylights out of the opposition since her return from a long term shoulder injury in the latter stages of 2018.
She returned to international duty after only a handful of club games, and hit Canada like a guided missile, Scotland lost on that occasion but Jade had a storming game tacking, as the great Bill McClaren once said “Like the crack of doom” and launching those “Rhino” charges from the base of the scrum as if her life depended upon it.
Jade Konkel was born on December 9 1993 in Inverness, and lived on the Black Isle an appropriately named location for any respectable monster to reside.
Inverness lies on the Great Glen Fault, where there are minor earthquakes, usually unnoticed by locals, about every 3 years, I have a theory they nearly always occur when Jade is home doing some tackling practice, but geological confirmation is difficult to come by.
Fortunately off the field Jade is one of the most modest and friendly individuals you could wish to meet, a smile is always close to hand, and her soft highland brogue could charm the birds from the trees.
With the Six Nations approaching, whilst taking one game at a time, she is delighted that Scotland will be playing France in Lille, and at a ground that became her home whilst excelling in the colours of Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois
Jade won her first cap against England in 2013 and thirty three caps later she is nailed on to start in Scotland’s opener against Italy in the 2019 Womens Six Nations.
The basketball skills honed at the top level following two seasons with the Highland Bears, are evident on the rugby field, I do not recall witnessing her dropping a single ball during the current Tyrrells Premiership campaign, where she has worn the Harlequins shirt with such pride and passion.
The dictionary definition of Jade is ” A semi precious stone” maybe that should now be changed to “An extremely precious Scottish rugby player”, a monsterous Six Nations awaits.