Scotland’s most-capped sevens player Scott Riddell has announced he will call time on his professional rugby career this weekend.
The 33-year-old will hang up his boots following the final leg of the 2018-19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris, bringing to an end a decade-long career. Riddell will now switch to a full-time position as Scottish Rugby coach development officer for the Caledonia Midlands region, a role he has undertaken on a part-time basis since last July.
The Edinburgh-born hooker has become a linchpin of the national sevens squad since making his debut in San Diego in 2009. This weekend’s tournament will mark his 74th appearance on the World Rugby Sevens Series, 25 clear of Colin Gregor in the Scotland all-time charts.
Riddell’s ten-year career with the international set-up has seen the squad go from strength-to-strength, in a decade where he has played at three Sevens Rugby World Cups in 2009, 2013 and 2017. He will forever be linked with Scotland’s historic comeback win over South Africa in the final of the 2016 London Sevens, helping his side to their first ever cup victory on the world circuit on his 50th appearance for his country.
Twelve months on, Riddell wrote his name into the history books, becoming a member of the first-ever Scotland squad to beat a New Zealand team in any form of the game in the quarter-final, on the way to retaining their Twickenham title. Riddell scored the winning try in the final to claim a 12-7 victory over England.
He also competed at three consecutive Commonwealth Games, making his debut at Delhi 2010. Riddell was then one of the 12 players selected to represent Scotland at their first home Commonwealth Games in 28 years, running out at Ibrox as part of the Glasgow 2014 squad. Four years later he led his country at Gold Coast 2018 after being named as captain by John Dalziel.
“It’s been some ten years,” said Riddell. “If you’d said to me when I first started that I’d play for Scotland for a decade, I wouldn’t have believed you. We’ve had a few good times and a few tough times but looking back on it all it’s been an amazing experience.
“There are so many special memories, from Hong Kong to playing in front of 45,000 incredibly loud fans at Ibrox at Glasgow 2014.
“To win our first ever cup in the manner we did in London and back that up the following year with a really talented and experienced group was outstanding.
“It’ll take a wee while for retirement to sink in but I have been so lucky to play for Scotland for as long as I have and I’ll walk off the pitch in Paris knowing I’ve given everything I can.”