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Women's Six Nations: Professional contracts 'undoubtedly making a difference' for Scotland

Coreen Grant (right) in action
Coreen Grant (right) scored Scotland's opening try against Wales and is one of 27 contracted players.

Women's Six Nations: Scotland v France

Venue: Hive Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 30 March Kick-off: 14:15 GMT

Coverage: Watch live on BBC One Scotland, BBC iPlayer and online; text commentary, highlights and report on BBC Sport website and app.

Scotland scrum-half Jenny Maxwell says the national side are definitely benefitting from having more full-time professional players.

Twenty-three of the 34-player squad for the Six Nations are contracted to Scottish Rugby, and the Scots have gone from strength to strength in the last 12 months.

Saturday's win over Wales was their seventh Test victory in a row and Maxwell, who has a professional contract as she comes back from injury, says full-time training has accelerated Scotland's development.

"They're undoubtedly making a difference, the contracts," the Loughborough Lightening scrum-half told the BBC Scotland Rugby Podcast.

"I don't think we can shy away from that.

"And they're making a difference to myself and the girls that are down the PWR [Premiership Women's Rugby] as well, being able to commit time to go and play for these clubs that are going to get us really great rugby each week.

"Prior to the contracts coming in we were still making progress. It was just probably a little bit more slowly.

"We kind of always knew that we were capable of this. But it's just finishing the job off. And I think the mindset switch is there now, and having the wins in WXV2 are a huge confidence builder, and at the end of last Six Nations as well.

"It was difficult going into tournaments when you kind of feel like you maybe weren't as prepared as you wanted to be."

Maxwell also believes the current squad is Scotland's strongest ever, with the returning Francesca McGhie vying with Coreen Grant, who was superb against Wales, for a starting spot on the wing.

"It's a big decision for [head coach] Bryan [Easson] to make," Maxwell told the BBC Scotland Rugby Podcast. "I wouldn't like to be in his position making that decision.

"But for me if you put in a performance like [Grant did], a player of the match performance and executed her role, finished tries where she had a lot of work to do as well, I think she has to keep her shirt.

"But who knows what will happen? I think the depth we have in the squad at the moment is better than it's ever been."