‘We're so proud of him - It felt very special’: Elliot Millar-Mills joins sisters Bridget and Harriet in the famous Test cap club

Elliot Millar-Mills with his parents after his Scotland debut
©The Millar-Mills family
Over the years, there have always been a lot of close family ties woven through Scottish rugby’s rich history.

You had the Hastings brothers, Scott and Gavin, strutting their stuff in the same team back in the day while in the present squad, there are brothers Zander and Matt Fagerson.

A few years ago, sisters Louise and Siobhan McMillan played for the national team while before that, Rowen Shepherd played for the men and his sister Rhona for the women.

These are just a few examples and there are many more, but when Elliot Millar-Mills came on at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in last week’s Guinness Six Nations clash for his first Scotland cap, he did something fairly special.

He joined sisters Bridget (Scotland) and Harriet (England) in becoming a full international, so for three siblings to have done that - and for two different countries - is pretty unique.

"We are all so proud of him, this feels very special,” Bridget, who was first capped for Scotland in 2013, told TRU.

"I was so chuffed for him. It was brilliant to see him getting on the pitch and winning a Scotland cap, he has worked so hard for this.

"When he came on in the second half, the game was pretty tight, but he and his teammates really dug in and got over the line.

"There have been ups and downs along the way and he has sacrificed a lot of things to get to this point. It was a really special day for the whole family, but most importantly for Elliot.

"It has been quite a whirlwind few weeks for him I think - getting called up to the training camp aged 31 and then being in the matchday 23 for the Wales match - but he is a really humble guy who will just have got his head down and trained hard and he has got his rewards for that.”

‘Our parents are over the moon to have been in Cardiff’

Elliot was given the honour of lifting the Doddie Weir Cup with fellow new cap Alec Hepburn after the 27-26 win in the Welsh capital and that was a nice moment, but even better ones were to come.

“Mum Elspeth, Dad Paul, Harriet and her partner Adam and some close family friends were there in the stadium,” Bridget, who retired from playing rugby a few years ago, continues.

“And Mum and Dad managed to catch up with him after the game and saw him getting his cap and that was very special for them because they have been the ones over the years - with three rugby-playing children  - who have always been on the end of the phone for us and helped us out along the way.

"Having spoken to them this week I know how proud they feel, they are over the moon to have been in Cardiff. Elliot’s got a little boy Otto who is just one and he was there too watching with Elliot’s wife Melosa, so that was really special for the three of them.

Millar-Mills with his sister Harriet, wife Melosa and son Otto after first Scotland cap
©The Millar-Mills family
"I have two little boys, Oscar and Alfie, and we had various things on and couldn’t make it to Cardiff, but by the time the match was on we were all sitting in front of the TV with my partner Dave and we had some friends round too.

"The boys liked showing their friends their uncle Elliot on the TV and that was really cool, but things did get a bit tense as the second half unfolded!

"The bench players seemed to make a bit of a difference for Scotland and it was just great to see Elliot playing his part."

‘Coming up against Harriet in an international context was quite surreal’

So, how did the Millar-Mills siblings end up playing for Scotland AND England? Well, their Mum was born in Hamilton in Scotland while their Dad is English and that created options.

"We all started playing at Manchester Rugby Club back in the day because that was our local club about 10 minutes from our house,” Bridget, now 34, explains.

"Elliot was the first to play and then Harriet decided to give it a go and then I headed along. Harriet and myself played in the minis with the boys and then when it got to the time when the minis came to an end, I stopped playing and was more into horses.

"That took up a lot of my time but in our teens, Harriet got me to go along to play in a girls team which was run around the Widnes and Chester areas and we played there until senior rugby came calling."

Senior rugby-wise, Elliot played for Stockport and Macclesfield before breaking into the professional ranks and has since appeared for Yorkshire Carnegie, Edinburgh Rugby, Ealing Trailfinders, Wasps, Edinburgh again and now Northampton Saints.

Harriet, now 32, has played for the likes of Lichfield, Waterloo, Wasps and now Exeter Chiefs while she has earned well over 50 caps for the Red Roses.

Harriet and Bridget Millar-Mills with their parents in 2013
©The Millar-Mills family
And Bridget turned out for Waterloo and Worcester - and then Waterloo again - during her career.

Elliot has been named on the Scotland bench again for Saturday’s round two Six Nations match versus France at Murrayfield and, if he gets on, that will be another proud moment for the ‘clan’.

Last week’s Cardiff cameo was probably the proudest rugby moment for the family since 2013 when Harriet and Bridget were in matchday squads against each other in the Women’s Six Nations.

It was England versus Scotland at Esher in Surrey and Bridget started in the second-row for the visitors and back-row Harriet came off the bench for the hosts in the second half during a 76-0 win.

"Coming up against Harriet in an international context was quite surreal,” Bridget concludes.

"It seems a long time ago and a lot has happened since then - now we are just so happy that Elliot has fulfilled one of his dreams."