SAMURAI, captained by Selkirk star Fraser Harkness, emerged winners of the second round of the GB7s at Meggetland on Saturday after Welsh cap Sam Cross scored a dramatic last-second try to take victory by 34-33 over Wailers at the end of a day of high-quality sevens rugby that could be repeated next year.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll be back at Meggetland next year. The playing facilities, the medical facilities and the media facilities are all excellent and we’ve worked well with the club,” said Dick Jeavons-Fellows, the GB7s tournament director.
The result on Saturday means that Samurai and Wailers, for whom former Edinburgh player Alex Blair was a key contributor, are level on 68 points going into the final round in London next Saturday. Scottish Thistles, meanwhile, maintained their overall fifth standing on 38 points after reaching the Cup semi-final. Apache are lying third on 46 points, Marauders are in fourth on 44, Crawshays Welsh and Irish Exiles are joint sixth on 28 points, and Vipers are sitting last with 26 points.
Thistles, fielding several players new to this level of sevens impressed in their pool matches with wins over Marauders (26-10) and Irish Exiles (21-14) and a narrow 17-14 defeat by pool winners Wailers. But in the Cup semi-final Thistles could not match the accuracy, pace and excellent ball retention of Samurai who went on to win 26-14.
Then in the third/fourth play-off, the Scots lost 31-19 to Apache. “It was disappointing to lose the last two matches but we played some good rugby in the pool matches” said Thistles coach, Graham Shiel. Impressive for Thistles were rookie Glen Young (Jed-Forest), Ross Miller (Glasgow Hawks) and William Wardlaw (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby).
“I thought that, overall, some players have made genuine progress. This is a superb level between club and international. We need more of this,” added Shiel.
Meanwhile, Scotland gave themselves a confidence dip ahead of the Sevens World Cup in Moscow with an unimpressive showing in the first round of the FIRA-AER European Sevens circuit.
The Scots lost their opening two matches on Saturday to France (5-31) and Germany (19-21) before defeating Portugal (12-10). Then yesterday Scotland lost their final pool match to Russia (7-19) but recovered to defeat Spain (12-5) in the semi-final of the Plate only to lose the final to Portugal (26-7).