Eight new caps in Scotland's Sevens World Series squad

SCOTLAND Sevens team head coach Graham Shiel will lead a young squad into the 2010/11 HSBC Sevens World Series.

Selkirk's Fraser Harkness , right, is in the Scotland squad for the Sevens World Series Picture: Ian Rutherford

The 12-man squad has an average age of 22 and includes eight international debutants.

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One of those will be Selkirk's 2008/09 Premier 2 and 2009/10 Premier 1 player of the season, Fraser Harkness, who has established himself as a fine sevens player. He will line up alongside five further Premier club players.

Scott Riddell (Stewart's Melville) comes with experience of the 2009 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Andrew Skeen of Watsonians, a member of Rob Moffat's 2005/06 Scotland 7s team in Paris and London, recently returned from playing professionally in Italy for Amatori Rugby Milano and Rugby Roma.

Team Northumbria's Michael Fedo, already a capped sevens internationalist, is a product of the Bell Baxter High School and Howe of Fife teams who achieved the remarkable Scottish Schools Cup and Scottish Youth League Cup double in 2007 and the Scottish Schools' Sevens championship victories of 2006/07 and 2007/08.

West of Scotland back-row Graham Fisken and Currie winger Dougie Fife are the last of the club contingent. Both will both make their international sevens debuts in Dubai.

Debuts will also be handed to Glasgow Warriors full-back Peter Horne, of the same Bell Baxter/Howe of Fife dynasty as Fedo, fellow Warrior and Dundee-drafted outside back James Fleming, and Edinburgh pro players Ross Samson and David Denton.

The 12-man squad is completed by elite development players Struan Dewar (Edinburgh Rugby/Heriot's) and James Johnstone (Glasgow Warriors/ Currie).

Shiel said: "We have a limited pool of elite players in Scotland to select from so it's important that we make efforts to increase the playing resource available not just for sevens but for the many teams that Scottish rugby fields during a very busy international season.

"We have been engaging with the wider rugby community with a view to widening the player base from the domestic clubs all the way up to elite level and want to make sure that every opportunity for sevens stars of the future to be identified and their potential to be developed is taken, as recent examples like Lee Jones and Jim Thompson have already shown." Harkness, 25, believes his regular experience of the Kings of Sevens circuit for almost a decade stands him in good stead for the demands of the international arena.

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He said: "I absolutely love sevens.It's where I made my name as a 16-year-old at Gala 7s and I think that training and playing sevens regularly will do the world of good for my own game and for the young players of Scotland.

"I never thought I'd get the chance to play for the Scotland sevens team but Graham Shiel phoned me during pre-season and invited me to midweek squad sessions on top of my club commitments - I was never going to turn that down.

"The Scotland sevens team has developed academy players into top professionals in the past so the same could be done for the top players in the domestic game who can bring a lot of sevens experience. Yes, there's a difference between club and professional play, but fitness and stamina can be earned with months of hard work but skill and the ability to read and understand the game can take much longer."

In Dubai, Scotland will face Commonwealth Games silver medalists Australia and bronze medalists South Africa as well as 2009 Dubai Shield winners, Russia, in Pool C before heading to George the following weekend where they will face Australia for a second time and Six Nations rivals Wales and France.

The Squad

David Denton (Edinburgh)

Struan Dewar (Edinburgh)

Michael Fedo (Northumbria)

Dougie Fife (Currie)

Graham Fisken (West)

James Fleming (Glasgow)

Fraser Harkness (Selkirk)

Peter Horne (Glasgow)

James Johnstone (Glasgow)

Scott Riddell (Stew Mel)

Ross Samson (Edinburgh)

Andrew Skeen (Watsonians)

The Schedule


Dubai, UAE: 3-4 December

George, South Africa: 10-11 December


Wellington, New Zealand: 4-5 February

Las Vegas, USA: 12-13 February

Hong Kong: 25-27 March

Adelaide, Australia: 2-3 April

Twickenham: 21-22 May

Murrayfield: 28-29 May

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