SCOTLAND will play France in the Bowl competition at the IRB World Series Emirates Airlines London Sevens today after missing the cut for the quarter-finals of the Cup in a tough first day at Twickenham yesterday.
Realistically Scotland, who are ranked outside the top eight in world sevens, would not have expected to be in the Cup quarters-finals, but any thoughts that the Bowl will be an easy competition should be dismissed immediately, such is the quality of sevens rugby on show this weekend.
Scotland needed to finish in the top two places of their group to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals, but having lost to Fiji in the opening tie of the tournament they had to beat Wales in their second game.
In the event Scotland, unable to match a Wales seven strengthened for the London tournament by an infusion of professional players, won scant possession in the first half and at the break trailed 21-0 courtesy of three tries by Emyr Lewis, all converted by Arwel Thomas.
Though Scotland fought back to score tries by Scott Paterson and Calum Macrae, they could not prevent Wales adding three further tries - two of these by Swansea’s Matthew Robinson - for a 40-12 win.
The defeat by Wales was all the more disappointing as it followed an impressive display against Fiji, losing by just 22-19. The Scots led 14-12 at half-time with an opening score from Roland Reid, and then a try from Paterson, both converted by Macrae.
Fiji quickly reasserted themselves with tries by Maika Wainibutu and Saimoni Rokini, but Scotland, having made three substitutions - Charlie Keenan for Reid, Sean Lamont for Adam Roxburgh, and Donnie Macfadyen for David Gray - finished strongly with a second try by Paterson.
"I think that getting so close to Fiji and losing had a negative effect on the players" said Scotland manager Roy Laidlaw. "But I was really disappointed at losing by 40 points to Wales."
Scotland salvaged pride in their final tie with a 24-4 win over Russia, with two tries from Paterson and one apiece from Andrew Wilson and Kenny Sinclair.
The Scotland women’s team make two enforced changes in the XV to play Australia in the Plate final for fifth/sixth place in the World Cup in Girona, near Barcelona, this morning.
Full-back Sarah Higgins (concussion) and left wing Angela Hutt (broken collar-bone), injured in the 23-16 win over hosts Spain on Tuesday, are replaced by Gill Gibbon (Royal High) and Ali McGrandles (Richmond) respectively.