14 November 2020

Scotland’s Jade Konkel on that ‘forgone conclusion’ comment and loving life with Quins

As a Scotland international, Jade Konkel says she is used to the team being under-estimated.

And so, she’s still enjoying the moment an Irish commentator deemed it a ‘foregone conclusion’ they would lose to France in last month’s Women’s Six Nations, a game which saw the Scots pull off a phenomenal performance to earn a 13-13 draw.

The un-named unfortunate broadcaster’s remark, made while he was covering the Italy Ireland match, was highlighted by Scotland players Emma Wassell and Rhona Lloyd and Twitter erupted in support of the team and praising their performance.

"We heard before the match, we were watching the Italy Ireland game in the team room and when that was said in commentary there was a bit of rowdiness. 

"But you know we are used to hearing comments like that and I guess like in the past [there may have been matches] where it was a forgone conclusion but that just shows you cannot underestimate your opposition.

“Every team takes each game as it comes so you have to be prepared for that and the fact we were able to do that proves people wrong and get a lot more backing behind us which is absolutely phenomenal. 

"Hopefully it'll just continue and I've got no doubt that it will because of all the hard work going on behind the scenes.”

The social media reaction showed Konkel that the fans’ support shouldn’t be taken for granted.

"Obviously it would have been amazing if we had fans in there to witness the match, but it was really nice to actually read social media and is lots of positive comments. 

"I'm quite a sucker for reading all the social media post-game stuff anyway. You know the negative comments, the trolls, they can get you down as much as they're like just ignore them.

“To actually hear it from the flip side and the number of positive comments, the people that tuned in and people have really supported us and it's absolutely amazing and actually it's something you can never take for granted because it does mean a lot.”

She added she was so grateful to be back on the pitch for Scotland for the first time since February.

"Yeah it was really good. I felt I had to pinch myself to tell me it had happened. Obviously we were away for several months but I ran Zoom sessions for a fitness block every week so we were always seeing each other to keep driving the culture.

“We did a sickening amount of burpees together! But everything we did was 'right when we're back we want to be in a position to hit the ground running’ and I think that’s exactly what we did. When we did go into camps there was all the detail, it wasn't building up your fitness, building up this that because we were already ready.

“I think that's really important and a testament to each and every player who did play and who's worked behind the scenes to get us on the pitch to play France that we managed to get such a great result against a great opposition.”

The remaining Six Nations matches, of which Scotland were to be involved in two, have been cancelled and the World Cup qualifying event has been postponed.

But while she won’t return to the pitch for Scotland for a while, she will be a part of her club Harlequins’ clash against Sale Sharks in the Premier 15s this weekend.

She had said it’s ‘strange’ preparing to play a team who have only just entered the league.

"We're quite fortunate that we are playing them later on in the season so we've got footage to analyse, it must have been tough for their first game out because no one would have had any clue as to what to expect.

"But now that we have footage we can base things off of looking at some patterns and what the game plan is like, who their key players are whether that's ball carriers, attack, defence threat.

“[We can] start to pick off little bits from footage that we've got, nothing paints a clear picture as we haven’t seen much of them, so anything could happen. I think it's being switched onto that as well and not underestimating the opposition.”  

Quins currently sit top of the table after recording four wins from four games. This mirrors the start to their 2019/20 season before they were beaten by defending champions Saracens.

Konkel says the Sarries clash, coming up in December, is something that’s always in Quins’ mind.

"The Quins Sarries match always gets mentioned, but we all know that we have to focus on one game at a time because you don’t know what anyone is going to bring to the table. Especially because we have some new teams in the league.

"We have Sale Sharks this weekend and I've heard from many players in different teams that they are actually a really strong side and that sometimes the score doesn't quite reflect what happens in that game.

“So I think you have to take each game as it comes especially because everything is so unknown and we're all playing different laws now so it's always in the mind but take each game as it comes.”

She added she can’t take her eyes off of the league this season as the competition is so high.

"It's interesting, it's been intriguing, every weekend that there's a game I'm constantly refreshing my [social media] feed to see what the scores were because you just don't know. 

"I remember first game of the season I kept refreshing Saracens Worcester, it was so, so close for the majority of the game that you didn't really know what was going to happen. I think that's exciting, it's exactly what the league needs and it should be teams having to work their butts off to get in the top four.

“It shouldn’t just be ‘oh you know it’s going to be these four teams every year’, it makes everything a little bit more exciting and you want to play a game that's a competitive game so it's really good that's it's getting more competitive.”

Outside of rugby, Konkel is currently planning her wedding to partner Helen after they became engaged last year.

The number eight has said their plans to wed in 2022 so far have not been disrupted by Covid.

"Thankfully not at the moment and everything is still on track, obviously we have a lot of time but the biggest thing is because things have been rescheduled it means that quite a lot of people are booking weddings around the same time.  

“So people are being invited to weddings around the same time so we really have to get a move on with our save the dates because everyone's rescheduling.

"I am a sucker for 'I'll deal with the guest list another time’ and Helen is like we need to send out our save the dates because other people are booking the date and it's just stress that I'm completely ignoring!

“So I think things will fall into place I just need to kind of probably pull my finger out and do the things that need to be done now but we have all the main things booked in at the moment we just need to tell people!”

Harlequins v Sale kicks off at 3pm on Saturday and will be available to stream on Harlequins’ Facebook and YouTube channels

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