Caity Mattinson is loving life in the Scotland set-up as her side prepares for their second WXV 2 test against USA on Friday.
Mattinson was born in Inverness, but having been brought up in Northumberland, came through the ranks of the English rugby system.
She made seven appearances for the Red Roses between 2017-18, before choosing to switch allegiances to Scotland at the start of 2022 following the introduction of World Rugby’s birthright transfer process.
Now a regular fixture for Scotland, Mattinson couldn’t be happier with her new surroundings.
“I wouldn't change my journey for the world,” she said.
“It was a fast but natural progression for me to go through the English pathway because of where I lived.
“I learned a lot in that time, but I adore this group of people. I'm extremely proud to be playing for Scotland, and it just feels right to be in this environment.
“There are even little things that are just super special. We've done a ceilidh before every gym session since we've been out here, we listen to loads of traditional Scottish music.
“There's so much that binds everyone together culturally, and it’s the stuff that you don't get anywhere else that I adore. It's super, super special.”
WXV provides fans with more opportunities to see the best teams and the biggest names in women's rugby compete on the global stage.
Mattinson is hopeful that the increased exposure of the women’s game will inspire more girls to get into the sport.
“It's absolutely crucial,” she said. “The older I've got, the more value I've seen in that.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to play for Scotland and assumed that I would play on the same team as Chris Patterson – it didn't really occur to me that there’d be a separate women's team!
“It's super important that that visibility grows and that kids have that to aspire to.
“I'd love to see the game growing, not just because I want kids to aspire to play for the national team, but because of the friends, the connections and the confidence that rugby gives you.
“It doesn't matter what level you play. I think the whole concept of the rugby family is super important, and the more people that get to experience that joy, the better.”
Off the back of their impressive opening win against hosts South Africa last Friday, Scotland now face the test of USA – the WXV 2 team sitting highest in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini.
While certain that the fixture will be hotly-contested, Mattinson has hailed the belief within the Scotland camp.
“The USA will be a really tough physical, athletic side to play against,” she added.
“But it's really important that we have that belief in the squad that we can go on to win these games.
“If we come away having won the tournament, I think that puts us in a really special place and a really exciting place going into the Six Nations.”