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A Little bit of history is on the way

A female head coach will take charge of a men's team in the Scottish club game for the first time when Langholm's players host Dunbar in their opening RBS East One game on Saturday.

Ally Little is the woman in question, having taken on the role after Davy Scammell stepped down at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.

The 33-year-old, who won six caps for Scotland Women, is excited by the challenge. "The reaction from the guys in the squad has been positive," she said. "They respect me as a rugby player because of my international and club playing experience and they know that I understand the game well.

"So far I am thoroughly enjoying it. One of my former team mates from Lancashire, Elaine Vassie, was the first female in England to coach a men's team at Manchester. I learned a lot from her.

"I hope in future more women play rugby and become more knowledgeable about the sport, so that they will be able to utilise their experience and skills to feed back into the game and coach men, women or children as they see fit."

A local girl, Little began playing rugby at Langholm when she was nine and, in her teenage years, played centre for the women's under-18 team at Milntown. She then went to university in Liverpool and played for Waterloo before going on to earn six Scotland caps. After a number of years in England, she moved back to Langholm to take up a depute head teacher post at Hawick High School.

At the beginning of last season she trained with Carlisle, but she was injured and had to undergo a second anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. She hopes to return to playing in 2014/15, after her wedding, but her focus for now is on coaching.

"I have offered to step forward to steady the ship," she added, "taking training every week with a view to augmenting that with guest coaches from around the town when they are free. We will see where it takes us."

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