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WXV2: Scotland lifting inaugural trophy 'just the beginning' - captain Rachel Malcolm

Scotland captain Rachel Malcolm and head coach Bryan Easson with the WXV2 trophy
Rachel Malcolm and head coach Bryan Easson are delighted to lift the WXV2 trophy

Captain Rachel Malcolm says winning the inaugural WXV2 has just "scratched the surface" of what Scotland's national women's rugby union team is capable.

The Scots edged out Italy on points difference to top the new worldwide competition's second tier and have now won their past six games.

"We believed this was coming, but we also believe that this is just the beginning," Malcolm told BBC Scotland.

"There's so much more to come from this group."

Having beaten Japan in their final game of three in South Africa, Bryan Easson's squad had a nervous wait before Italy fell just short of the required winning margin in Sunday's game against United States.

"Incredibly happy - ecstatic," was Malcolm's reaction. "We had to watch it - it was a very long 80 minutes, a tough watch.

"Italy are a class outfit and they performed incredibly well against USA and it was so, so tight and it obviously came down to very fine margins in the end. I guess luck was on our side big time and we had done just enough."

Malcolm said that the Scots always felt "it's our time".

"We came here with the goal of winning the tournament but also creating incredible memories both on and off the pitch and we've absolutely done that," the Loughborough Lightning flanker said.

"Everything seemed to align. It's the first time we've won a trophy since 2001. It is also the first time we've beaten the USA since 2001 and it's also the first time we've won six games on the trot since 2001."

The Scots' winning run - they also defeated the hosts in South Africa - is in stark contrast to their previous results.

"Within those 12 defeats, there was so much potential," Malcolm said. "We don't always get the belief of others external to this group and we don't always get the support of others external to this group, but we stuck to it and really didn't listen to some of the people who might have doubted us along the way.

"Particularly after the World Cup last year, we took a really tough look at ourselves, both as a management team and a player group, and I think the growth that you've seen has not just happened overnight."

Malcolm said the Scots are not dwelling on the fact there is no promotion available from WXV2 until 2026.

"It hasn't crossed our minds at this minute," she said. "Getting our hands on the trophy was all we had our sights set on. We weren't thinking about what's next."

However, Malcolm thinks it is "incredibly exciting" looking forward to next year's Six Nations.

"This is not the pinnacle for us," she insisted. "It is the crest of the wave and we want to keep pushing on and this season's Six Nations has big implications in terms of World Cup qualification.

"We couldn't be in a better place in terms of competing in this season's Six Nations."