A north-east wing ace is hoping for a very special birthday treat – a debut cap for Scotland’s women’s side.
Watsonians’ Charlotte Runcie, 24, has been called up to the initial squad for the Scots’ Test against Canada at Scotstoun on Tuesday – her 25th birthday.
For the native of Cornhill, near Banff, it is the delayed next step in a rugby career punctuated by injuries.
Explaining her journey in the game, criminology graduate Runcie said: “I started playing rugby when I was 18, I’m 24 now. I was playing for Garioch Rugby Club in Inverurie.
“I’d never really had any rugby at school, but I’d done quite a few sports – I was a dancer for several years, athletics, karate.
“It was something I’d never tried before but it became my life.
“Then when I went to university (at Edinburgh Napier) it became a bit more serious. I was involved in Scotland Under-20s and sevens.
“I’ve had quite a few injuries in the last couple of years. I broke my arm and then I hurt my knee.
“It was quite bad – I tore three ligaments.
“I was sidelined for about eight months.
“My big focus was just getting back on the pitch and now I’m where I am now.
“I had been playing well for my club Watsonians Ladies.
“Shade Munro, the Scotland coach, had been keeping tabs on me, took me in for a couple of skills sessions and I got called up.”
On realising her passion to combine international-level pace with physicality on the rugby pitch, Runcie, who made seven club appearances this season, said: “I’m from Cornhill, about 10 miles from Banff. I grew up in the middle of nowhere on my granda’s farm.
“People make jokes about how I chased sheep.
“My dad was into distance running, so I did my first race when I was eight.
“I trained for endurance sports, dance, swimming, running, cycling.
“When I went to secondary school we did athletics, 100m, 200m, and that’s when we realised ‘Charlotte’s quite quick’.
“That’s when my focus changed to sprinting.”
She added: “I’ve put on about 10 kilos since I started playing.
“I’ve incorporated an athletics side – speed, power – and, for the contact, my karate.”
Munro’s squad will be cut to a matchday 23 before the Test and speedster Runcie hopes to get the nod as part of the back three.
Her talent has seen her involved in Scottish Rugby’s pathway system for a couple of years, which means extra strength and conditioning sessions on top of her normal Watsonians training.
Runcie hopes to one day join the police, but is currently putting her fitness knowledge to good use training others at Napier.