Kelso forward Darren Gillespie has been called into the Scotland 7s squad for this weekend’s Emirates Airline Dubai 7s, which gets under way this morning.
Gillespie, who is part of the sportscotland institute supported club pool, will replace injured Rory Hughes, who strained his hamstring in training yesterday.
Head coach Phil Greening said: “We wish Rory a speedy recovery, but we’re fortunate to be able to bring in a deserving replacement in Darren Gillespie. He has a lot of grit and the opportunity to compete on the circuit will be good for his development.
“We have thanked Kelso Rugby Club and Samurai, who Darren was already in Dubai with, for all their support.”
Gillespie has previously been involved with Scotland 7s in the FIRA-AER European GP Sevens Series, in Lyon and Moscow.
The Dubai Sevens main pool matches are scheduled to begin early this morning and Scotland 7s are due to take on Kenya (6.12am GMT), Fiji (9.36am) and Spain (1pm) in today’s Pool A matches.
Meanwhile, The Xodus Steelers – who are led by former Scotland coach Frank Hadden – kicked-off their Dubai campaign in the Veteran Tens section with a 12-5 victory over The Royals, a combined Welsh and English select team led by Colin Charvis and Leigh Davies.
The Xodus Steelers, made up of former internationalists from Scotland, England, South Africa and New Zealand went behind early on but came back to win the game thanks to excellent link-up play between former All Black Caleb Ralph and former Springbok Thinus Delport, who both scored a try each. Former England Sevens player Howard Graham scored the game’s only conversion for the Steelers.
In their second game against TSB PB Slammers Legends the Xodus Steelers ran in eight tries to win 48-0 and progress to the quarter-finals. Gavin Kerr, Ralph (2), Delport (2), Graham, Mustchin and Lee all scored for the Scottish-based team. The Xodus Steelers will play the Bali Legends in today’s International Veterans Tens quarter-final.
Delport said: “It was good to blow away the cobwebs in the first game and against the Slammers we were able to run in a few tries and win slightly more convincingly.
“I’m really enjoying playing with Caleb (Ralph) – he has unbelievable spacial recognition and we seem to be building up a good partnership.
“We know the quarter-final will be really tough but we’re looking forward to it and hopefully we can step it up again.”
Scotland squad (for Dubai and for Nelson Mandela Bay 7s next weekend): James Johnstone (Glasgow Warriors EDP), Michael Fedo (Scotland 7s), Darren Gillespie (Kelso), John Houston (Edinburgh Rugby), Colin Gregor (captain/Scotland 7s), Mark Robertson (Scotland 7s), Andrew Turnbull (Scotland 7s), Colin Shaw (Scotland 7s), Scott Riddell (Scotland 7s), Michael Maltman (Scotland 7s), James Fleming (Scotland 7s), Alex Glashan (Scotland 7s EDP).