Basketball’s Rose Anderson helps Scotland rugby to GP final

Rose Anderson, centre, in action for the Scotland Women's rugby team, and for GB basketball at the Olympics
Rose Anderson, centre, in action for the Scotland Women's rugby team, and for GB basketball at the Olympics
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Olympian Rose Anderson has made a successful transition from basketball to rugby – just seven months after taking up the sport.

The 26-year-old former Portobello High pupil has encountered a remarkable journey since she donned the blue and red of Team GB at London 2012.

Last weekend, Anderson, sister of super middleweight boxer Kenny, represented the Scotland Women’s 7s team at the FIRA-AER Division A Championships in Norway and helped them qualify for next year’s Grand Prix Series.

Rose is used to the high intensity of team sports, having benefited from a basketball scholarship programme in the United States. But, after starring for Capital outfit the Kool Kats, she thought she would dabble in something new after being enticed along to rugby training sessions with the RHC Cougars by a close friend.

She explained: “I was just playing club basketball when my friend Jenny asked me to come along to Royal High last November. I’d never really even watched rugby. My brother is a boxer, so there’s never been anyone in my family who has taken an interest. But I just thought I’d give it a try and why not?

“I feel I am suited to rugby. It’s physical and aggressive and there’s no getting away from that aspect of it. A couple of times I’ve nearly got myself in trouble in basketball! It’s definitely something I should have started earlier, but I suppose it’s better late than never.

“If I’d come from football, the transition may have been slightly more difficult, but there are so many similarities and I’d say rugby is probably a wee bit easier than basketball.”

Three consecutive group victories last Saturday in Bergen – 36-0 wins over both Finland and Croatia followed by a 38-7 triumph against Moldova – ensured an easy passage to the last eight for Anderson and the Scots.

Further wins over Finland and Romania in the quarter and semi-finals respectively not only set up a final clash with Ukraine, which they went on to lose 17-5, but also clinched a Grand Prix Series spot.

“I had a great time out there,” Anderson said. “Our team goal was to finish in the top two and qualify for next year’s Grand Prix Series and we managed to achieve that. We didn’t lose a game until the final, which we lost against a very good Ukraine side who were pretty much semi-pro, so they play a lot together.

“I thoroughly enjoyed myself and having been involved in high-level basketball, I was really impressed with Scott (Forrest), the head coach, and his support staff who took it so professionally.”

With Anderson having a key role in five of the six matches contested in Norway, her debut on the international stage could not have fared much better.

Intending to return to the basketball court where she feels there remains some unfinished business, she feels just as content to pursue a similar pathway out on the rugby field.

“I remember getting the invite to the Scotland 7s,” she said. “I was really excited but I never thought I’d make the team. I thought it would help improve my rugby and it would give me a better understanding.

“But apart from one match were I was hurt in the game, I started the rest of the matches over there. It’s still a bit crazy to think I’ve represented Scotland at rugby.

“I feel really lucky and think I am blessed athletically. I’ve played basketball non-stop since the age of 12 so I’ve had that time to chill out, eat what I want and just relax and focus on something different. But I still have a lot to give on the basketball court so we’ll see what happens with that too.”