Sevens team bids to reach two finals in succession
THE SCOTLAND sevens squad are looking to clinch back-to-back final spots as they run out into the heat of Las Vegas this weekend.
After the shock exit of English coach Phil Greening last month (the SRU still insist it is a “personal matter”, currently with their HR department), Stevie Gemmell returned to the role last weekend in New Zealand and inspired the team to its best result of the season.
Scotland reached their first Cup quarter-final and Plate final in over two years at the Wellington Sevens, beating Portugal, Fiji and Argentina, losing only to Australia and eventual winners England.
Skipper Colin Gregor said: “Before heading out to New Zealand, we had a really decent training block at Ravenscraig, out of the Scottish winter weather, which had us in good shape. There has definitely been more confidence throughout the squad and we hope we will keep up momentum in the fifth leg of the circuit.”
This weekend, Scotland again face Portugal, Fiji – who they have played in every tournament so far – and England, which will be a stiffer pool, but having leapt to 13th in the world rankings this week, they are setting their sights on a top ten place by the end of the season.
“We know all three teams pretty well, having played them all a few times this year,” said Gregor, “and with that in mind we’re familiar with the threats they pose. Portugal are a strong team who fight for every scrap and are really difficult to break down. When they have the ball they are very adept at keeping it and have added a dangerous offload game to their attack.
“Fiji are still one of the top teams in the series. Individually, they are a different class, with some big runners, who are still very swift on their feet, and others who are incredibly evasive. We need to play as a team against them, defending together and limiting the space they get.
“When we have the ball we need to be patient and work through phases as their defence gets frustrated and can lead to indiscipline. We can then exploit this. Lastly, England have pace throughout their team and, similar to Fiji, are very dangerous off turnover ball.”
Scotland squad: James Johnstone (Glasgow), Michael Fedo, Struan Dewar, Christopher Dean, Colin Gregor (capt), Mark Robertson, Andrew Turnbull, Colin Shaw, Scott Riddell, Michael Maltman, James Fleming, Russell Weir.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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