Shiel names strong Scotland Sevens squad
Scotland Sevens head coach Graham Shiel has announced a strong squad for the London and Edinburgh rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series at the end of May.
The squad features four players that finished sixth in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi: Lee Jones (Edinburgh), Scott Riddell (Stewart’s Melville), Scott Newlands (Edinburgh) and top try-scorer Andrew Turnbull (Edinburgh).
Scotland also welcome the return of 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens Plate winner Jim Thompson (Edinburgh), all-time top points scorer Colin Gregor and fellow Glasgow Warrior Peter Horne.
Tickets are well priced for the event - from £5 for under 18s, £10 for students and senior citizens, £20 for adults and £40 for a family of four.
Up front Struan Dewar (Edinburgh elite development player), Michael Fedo (Team Northumbria) and Graham Fisken (West of Scotland) earn selection having performed admirably in the series this season.
The backs have also been bolstered by the inclusion of talented youngster Tom Brown (Edinburgh), while Fraser Harkness (Selkirk), Ross Samson (Edinburgh), Andrew Skeen (Watsonians) and James Johnstone (Glasgow Warriors elite development) return to the fold having also proved their mettle alongside Fisken and Fedo this season.
Strength in depth
“This larger squad gives us more flexibility with our approach to the last two legs of the Series, making selections that reflect performances in both training and the London tournament," said Shiel.
“I’ve selected players who have performed well over the first six tournaments and am able to bring in experienced professional players and some proven, world class sevens players who should complement one another and perform at a high level.
“If this squad plays to its potential and the players are accurate with how they perform then we will win games. We have to do the basics well under pressure on the world stage. If we do that then I’m confident we will be strong enough to achieve our day-one objective of a place in the cup quarter final.”
Scotland will open the penultimate leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, the Emirates Airline London Sevens on Saturday 21 May, a week before the Series climax and international party lands at Murrayfield in the last weekend in May, where the Scots have reached successive Cup semi-finals in 2008 and 2009 and won the Plate in 2010.
At the London round, the Scots will take on Series champions Samoa before lining up against defending Cup holders Australia and completing Pool C against Canada.
In Edinburgh the Plate holders will face another tough assignment in Pool D of the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens where they will face Pacific Islanders and renowned Sevens specialists Samoa and Fiji, as well as Series regulars USA on day one.
Last season the Scots performed heroics on home soil, beating Fiji, Wales and the USA before trumping both South Africa and Argentina on day two to win the silver platter.
Shiel: "We have to fight for it"
Shiel added: “It’s very exciting that our focus now turns to the final two events closer to home where the interest and the exposure in the sevens game really picks up.
“They’re undoubtedly strong groups in both tournaments. We’re going to have to fight for it but we will first target cup qualification in London with the view to take winning momentum into the final leg at Murrayfield.
“A number of the clubs in Scotland are now getting into the sevens season so to have the World Series coming to the home of seven-a-side rugby is hugely important for everyone involved in rugby in Scotland.”
Scotland 7s squad: Tom Brown, Struan Dewar, Michael Fedo, Graham Fisken, Colin Gregor, Fraser Harkness, Peter Horne, James Johnstone, Lee Jones, Stuart McInally, Scott Newlands, Scott Riddell, Ross Samson, Andrew Skeen, Jim Thompson, Andrew Turnbull
Tickets are priced from £5 for under-18s, £10 for students and senior citizens, £20 for adults and £40 for a family of four. All tickets are any day tickets – valid on Saturday 28 May or Sunday 29 May.
AND if an adult buys a ticket for one of the EMC August Tests in August (priced from £10) they can get ticket for the Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s for half price – just £10 per day!