Scotland Sevens inspired by exploits of Kenya and Samoa

Scotland Sevens captain Scott Wight admits that seeing the likes of Kenya and Samoa win HSBC Sevens World Series events in recent months made his troops determined to do the same themselves.

The Scotland Sevens squad pose with the London trophy at BT Murrayfield yesterday. Picture: SNS.
The Scotland Sevens squad pose with the London trophy at BT Murrayfield yesterday. Picture: SNS.

Over the years the World Series has been dominated by New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa, but with the Olympics just a few months away the standard of all of the countries on the circuit has risen in the last 12 months.

The underdogs have become more prominent and it all began last May when the USA won the London event at the end of the 2014/15 campaign.

This term Kenya (in Singapore), Samoa (in Paris) and now Scotland (in London at the weekend) have also upset the odds.

Wight and his squad returned to Edinburgh yesterday after their two days of heroics at Twickenham and they were greeted by family members at BT Murrayfield.

Speaking at the national 
stadium Wight, the 30-year-old playmaker from the Borders, said: “The boys had loads of positive chat from the way that we finished in Paris the week before.

“Then during the week between that and the London event head coach Calum MacRae posted a lot of photos up in the team meeting room showing Kenya winning in Singapore and Samoa winning in Paris.

“We looked at them and we knew that we were just as good as those teams and we wanted the glory to be ours. The whole group believed that we could go on and finally make a cup final and we just gave it everything we had in London.

“What we always say to each other is that you don’t win an event on day one and for us after Saturday and securing a quarter-final place it 
was about resetting and 

“When we defeated England in the quarter-finals it gave us another boost and against the USA in the last four we just kept on going.

“In the final when South Africa went 11 points ahead of us with just two minutes to go it was about sticking to our structures and not panicking. The boys found some extra energy and when Dougie [Fife] went over for the winning score I couldn’t believe it.

“We have wanted to put six good performances together over a tournament, but it is tough because the opposition are all getting better.

“In London we managed to do it and right now it feels very good. It was also really good to get some nice messages of congratulations from the opposition teams while we have all had lots of messages of support from fans.

“As a group of players we are close-knit and I often think that it helps pull us through some tough ties when the odds are maybe against us.”

Throughout the 2015/16 World Series – which Fiji won with Scotland finishing 10th – the core contracted sevens players such as Wight, Scott Riddell, Mark Robertson and James Johnstone have been joined in the squad at various times by 15s players.

For example, in London Damien Hoyland, Magnus Bradbury, Glenn Bryce and Dougie Fife were involved with the latter grabbing the limelight with some excellent tries.

The 25-year-old has not had the best season in the 15-a-side game, losing his Edinburgh Rugby contract and falling out of favour with Scotland, but yesterday he had a big smile on his face at the national stadium.

“When we went 11 points down with just two minutes to go in the final against South Africa we had to really try and force things and we threw everything at it,” Fife said.

“I managed to get one try back, but time was running out and everything was pretty frantic. Before we knew it Scott Wight had done a really clever kick-off and he then managed to regain the ball.

“It was ‘game on’ from there and the boys played some good rugby to keep things going and then when the ball got to me I just saw a wee gap in their defence and I went through it.

“As I placed the ball down for the winning try [they won 27-26] I then heard the final hooter sounding and then all the replacements ran on and the party began.”