Scotland Sevens coach Stephen Gemmell believes the permanent switch to the abbreviated game can pay off for former Edinburgh centre John Houston when the Emirates Airlines Glasgow Sevens tournament takes place at Scotstoun this weekend, writes COLIN RENTON.
Houston features in a 12-man squad with a core of players who have substantial experience of the IRB Sevens plus several youngsters who have made the breakthrough this year.
Also in the group is Houston’s former Edinburgh colleague Lee Jones and Byron McGuigan, of Glasgow Warriors, who both return to their sevens roots as the Scots seek points that are vital if they are to achieve the top-12 finish in the series that will secure core status for next year’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Scots currently share 12th spot with the US with this weekend’s competition and the finale in London next week still to come.
However, Gemmell insists his players will be focusing exclusively on the task at hand rather than the overall situation.
“It’s not about the USA, it’s not about anything else other than us doing our job this weekend,” he said. “I’ve said to the players that it’s not about playing the league table. We’re in our home tournament, we’ve got three important games on day one and we’ve got a responsibility to deliver.”
And pointing to the benefit of Houston having joined the sevens team rather than see out his contract with Edinburgh, the coach said: “He is in a much better place with sevens now becoming a full-time member of the squad.”
Scotland open their challenge against Portugal tomorrow afternoon before clashing with England and rounding off their day against New Zealand, the current World Series champions and Glasgow title holders.
Scotland Sevens squad: Chris Dean (Scotland 7s, EDP), Struan Dewar (Scotland 7s), Michael Fedo (Scotland 7s), Alex Glashan (Scotland 7s, EDP), Colin Gregor (captain) (Scotland 7s), John Houston (Scotland 7s), Lee Jones (Edinburgh Rugby), Michael Maltman (Scotland 7s), Byron McGuigan (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Riddell (Scotland 7s), Colin Shaw (Scotland 7s) and Andrew Turnbull (Scotland 7s).