EDINBURGH’s Test winger Lee Jones is in line for a return to the HSBC World Sevens Series in Glasgow next weekend as Scotland seek to avoid relegation.
The Scots are currently ranked 12th equal with the USA in the world sevens rankings, and under new rules introduced this season the core teams that finish 13th, 14th and 15th after Glasgow will be forced to play off for three spots in next season’s series with Tonga, Georgia, Hong Kong, Russia and Zimbabwe.
Dropping off the world stage at a time when the Commonwealth Games is coming to Scotland is causing the SRU and Games organisers sleepless nights, particularly after they heralded a new dawn under new coach Phil Greening that, in fact, coincided with Scotland’s disastrous start to the season. Coach Stevie Gemmell has restored hope with a string of good finishes, and now has included former sevens star Jones and Glasgow’s versatile Byron McGuigan in an initial 14-man squad for the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s. Mark Robertson, Neil Herron, James Johnstone, Russell Weir and Gregor Young are all injured, but Young’s twin brother, the uncapped Jed-Forest winger Lewis Young, is involved.
Gemmell said: “The Glasgow leg of the World Series is an extremely important tournament for us and with this squad I have brought in experience and rewarded the players who have trained well. I’m confident they can do the job that we’re setting out to do.”
The Scots face New Zealand, England and Portugal in Pool B. Tim Mikkelson will captain New Zealand after DJ Forbes suffered a foot injury in Tokyo last month. The Kiwis will also have last season’s IRB Sevens Player of the Year Tomasi Cama back, and include new cap, 20-year-old Blues talent Pita Ahki as they seek an 11th world crown
Their nearest challenger is South Africa, who will be missing the injured Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez, but will hand Glasgow debuts to WJ Strydom, Justin Geduld and wing Seabelo Senatla, nicknamed ‘Blitzbok’.
Scotland are chasing the Canadians in 11th spot, and they will have familiar faces in their ranks in Taylor Paris and Chauncey O’Toole. O’Toole had a brief spell with the Warriors in 2010 while Paris is being released this summer and rumoured to be heading to French rugby.
Tickets for the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s (from £15 per day with half-price concessions) can be bought at Scotstoun Stadium, Scotstoun Leisure Centre and the SECC or via www.ticketsoup.com.