Colin Gregor is back in sevens fold and keen to repeat first win over Fiji

COLIN Gregor returns to the Scotland team this weekend preparing for Saturday's opening tie against Fiji in the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens, remembering clearly the day when he helped the Scots claim their first win over the South Sea Islanders.

The Glasgow player has focused on fifteen-a-side rugby in recent years in his desire to push himself into the Test arena, either as a stand-off or scrum-half but, as Scotland's top try-scorer in international sevens, he remains one of the country's genuine world-class exponents of the short form of the game.

Scotland coach Graham Shiel welcomed him back to the squad yesterday, alongside Edinburgh full-back Jim Thompson, with Callum Anderson and Ross Samson dropping out. Shiel admitted it was a tough call and that he faces more difficult decisions on who will start in Saturday's pool ties with Fiji, Samoa and the USA. But Gregor is confident that, whoever takes the field, Scotland have the arsenal to repeat their feat of 2008 and stun the world's sevens magicians.

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"It was a great occasion three years ago," he said. "I played against Fiji and the weather was wet and windy that day, and the forecast may be similar this weekend, so we'll see whether they are interested or not. The thing with Fiji is that, if you start well against them and tear into them, you can test them mentally and see how much they want to be involved.

"They had a tough weekend in London, getting to the final, and so they might be a bit tired and slow to start, which could be an opportunity for us. But, like any sevens tournament, it is good to get certain teams first and Fiji, and maybe even Samoa, are a bit slow-starting too, but it's up to us to tear into them and make it difficult straight away."

He watched the team pick up their performance level by reaching the cup quarter-finals in London last weekend after a season in which various squads have failed to set the heather alight.

With Gregor's experience they might have turned close affairs with Australia and Samoa into wins, which would have meant a last-eight spot and Shiel said: "These lads are learning all the time and that is why I am keen to have a squad together next season that will stay together and learn from tournament to tournament.Colin and Jim have those skills and that experience and so I was delighted when they were available and, while I have no doubts that they will slip in quickly, the rest of the squad will also have to work hard around them too."

Gregor has featured in many Scotland teams and rates this one as good as any, but knows that the difference between a stunning performance this weekend and a disappointing one might be measured in tiny fractions.

"They've had glimpses throughout the season of what they're capable of, and I think playing in the Glasgow tournament the week before Twickenham gave them confidence going down there, and now the way they performed on Sunday gives hope. They ran the big teams close and, with another week's preparation, hopefully the addition of Jim and myself might make a bit of a difference. Playing at Murrayfield is a massive plus as well because when you first get onto the pitch, any good thing you do the cheers just get louder, and that does buoy you."

It would be great for Scotland were Gregor to figure more prominently next season on the circuit but, with the professional game in this country so restricted, his skills and experience will probably be needed by Glasgow when their core is in New Zealand at the World Cup. But, right now, Gregor only has eyes on Murrayfield.

"This is another great opportunity to get back into the sevens, play international rugby and play at Murrayfield, so I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

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"I was excited watching the tournament last weekend and then realised I would be involved in a week, and started to panic! I wondered if I'd trained enough! But it's great that it's here now.

"I've enjoyed playing a lot of games for Glasgow but some of the team performances have not been as we would have hoped, so this is an exciting opportunity to finish the season on a high."