A FORMER Largs Academy pupil helped Scotland become the first European country to secure a bronze medal at the Rugby Touch World Cup.

Alicia Green, 28, battled through 50 degree heat in Malaysia as she 'tried' her best for her country against teams from the top 26 countries.

The sports star told the News that it was her grounding at the local secondary that set her on the road to stardom.

Alicia, who grew up in Fairlie, now works at a university in Manchester as a sports development offer but says her time in Largs set her on the road to glory.

She said: "I played netball pretty much throughout my entire time at high school, mainly because my mum was the coach.

"I also played badminton and did gymnastics, so it was a great base for me to develop my love of sport.

"The skills I learned there have definitely transferred in to what I do now.

"There is a similar hand eye co-ordination skills and actually a lot of the girls who play in the team also used to play netball."

Alicia told how swapping the cold climes of Scotland for the baking heat in Malaysia was a test in itself.

She said: "We had been doing heat chamber sessions in 30 degree heat with 80 percent humidity to try and get used to the high temperatures and see how our bodies reacted.

"When we were in Malaysia it was about 30 to 38 degree heat but there was an on pitch thermometer which read in the the high 40's.

"We went out nine days before the competition began so that we could adapt but it's completely different playing with the sun beating down on you so we were all absolutely delighted when we got the bronze medal.

"The top teams are usually like Australia, New Zealand or other southern hemisphere countries because the sport is a lot bigger over there.

"It was great to be the first team from Europe to get a place."

Touch rugby is a version of non contact rugby which works in a team of rolling subs, with players required to be fast paced and agile during their time on the pitch.

At the six-day tournament, Scotland lost to New Zealand in the semi final but beat Western Samoa 12-4 in the bronze medal play off to gain third place.

Alicia's team only meet up for practice every four weeks and she travelled from Manchester to Scotland for training.

Having started playing in 2013 after she graduated from university, she was quickly spotted by the national coaches.

She said: "It was my sister who got me involved as she played and asked me to go along and watch her one night.

"They were a girl short though so she told me to bring my boots just in case and I loved it.

"In 2014 I was picked for the Scotland team and I have been to some incredible places and met some great people.

"It would be great if more people got involved in the sport, it really is great fun.

"I would love if they started doing it in high schools and primaries and encouraged people to get involved."