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-Roberts 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.
Jade made her Scotland Women debut against England when she came on as a replacement in the opening round of 2013 Six Nations, 53 caps later she is primed and ready for her first Rugby World Cup.
She became Scotland’s first full-time female player in 2016, and joined top French club Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois in 2017.
After joining Harlequins in 2018 following shoulder surgery, she returned to international duty with only a handful of club games under her belt, 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.
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 drop a single ball during last season’s Allianz Premiership campaign, where she has wore 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 Rugby World Cup awaits.