LISA MARTIN has had the dream start to this latest chapter of her rugby career. The 29-year-old signed for Women’s Premier 15 side Saracens in the summer and with four games played, the Scot’s side have secured four wins from four, with four bonus points to add to that.

Last season, Martin fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a full-time rugby player when she signed for French side, Lille Metropole Rugby Club Villeneuvois, but it shows her class that Saracens head coach, Alex Austerberry, jumped at the chance to sign the former Scotland captain when she became available.

Saracens are defending the league title they won last season and Martin admits that she is relishing the challenge of fighting for a place in one of the strongest sides in the UK.

“It’s a brilliant environment and a brilliant club so there’s a lot of support off the pitch too," the fly-half said.

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"They want the players to be at their best on the pitch so that means being happy off it. And the players have been fantastic too – there’s World Cup winners here and Grand Slam winners so that standard is unbelievable. Saracens are really big on their culture and it’s such a great environment to be part of to grow as a person and a player.

"It’s really exciting to be here – this is a completely new challenge for me and so it’s great to think I can continue to develop here. It’s really refreshing to be in this new place and realise that there’s so much more for me to learn.

"The sheer number of players down here is huge – every week, I’m training with 30 or 40 players. And everyone is challenging for a place – no one can become complacent about getting in the team down here. That helps me improve so much.

"We’ve got (Grand Slam winner) Zoe Harrison here and so when there’s players like that, everyone gets pushed on. Having that challenge of having to fight for the jersey is great.”

Martin, who is working as a learning assistant at Saracens High School in addition her rugby, reveals that one of the major advantages of Saracens is that the women’s team is fully integrated with the club and is not seen as a side show to the men’s team. There are a number of positives of integrating the women’s and men’s sides into one club and Martin believes the sport in Scotland could benefit from such a move.

“I think it’s massively important for the women’s and men’s sides to be integrated," she said.

"Obviously the men’s game is so much more advanced in terms of development and so there’s a lot we can learn from them but we also have to develop on our own too. But when you see the support the men have, it does make sense to align where possible so we can both use what’s there and get the best from it.

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"I think it would be massive if that happened in Scotland. You see the support the men’s teams have and that would be great to have for the women’s teams. I also think working with women’s sides would be invaluable for the coaches. A lot of coaches have this idea about the women’s game but then when they actually coach women’s sides, they see it totally differently.

"So I think that as well as being great for the players, it’d be good for the coaching side of things too.”

Martin made her international debut in 2010 and captained her country in three Six Nations Championships but in recent times, she has fallen out of the international set-up. With qualification matches for the 2021 World Cup just around the corner, Martin admits that getting back into the international fold is a significant goal, but no longer does she pin everything on Scotland selection in the same way she did in the past.

“Of course I’d love to be back in the international set-up and the long-term goal is definitely to get back involved again but for now, I just want to focus on playing well and working on things here at Saracens," she said.

"I want to concentrate on enjoying my rugby and that’s the main thing just now.

"Before, I’d hang my hat on that if I didn’t get picked for Scotland, I wasn’t doing well but now, I’m looking at it in that I need to be playing well week in, week out and then international stuff is a bonus. I want to get the blue jersey back on but to do that, I need to be playing well every week for my club.”