John Dalziel is one of Scotland’s most highly regarded homegrown rugby coaches and he cannot wait to work with the national sevens team during what looks like being a very exciting 2017/18 campaign.
Dalziel, the former Borders, Gala and Melrose player, earned caps in the abbreviated form of the game and now he has been tasked with building on all the good work predecessor Calum MacRae did.
In the last two seasons the Scots have won the season-ending Twickenham Sevens on the World Series circuit while in 2016/17 they finished seventh in the standings overall.
Last season Dalziel, who cut his coaching teeth with Melrose, started the campaign with London Scottish as forwards coach and ended it back in his old role as head coach of the Scotland under-20s.
With the latter he had great success at the World Championships in Georgia and now he is preparing the sevens squad for 10 World Series events, a Commonwealth Games in Australia and a World Cup in America.
Speaking this week after Team Scotland confirmed the first tranche of team sports set to compete in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next April, Dalziel said: “This is a huge year for me.Sevens was a huge part of my own career as a player and I was lucky enough to play for Scotland at this level.
“Getting the chance to be head coach is something very exciting, a great honour. Being able to integrate with Calum [MacRae] and the squad last season was good and he has left things in a good place.
“The core group have a lot of quality and they are good and consistent so I will be looking to these guys to move things on. There is definitely room to improve.
“As a rugby player for these guys it can’t get any better, the places they get to see and then a Games in Australia and a World Cup in San Francisco it is amazing.
The 12-tournament season for Dalziel, skipper Scott Riddell and the players begins in December in Dubai. Riddell, a veteran of two Commonwealth Games, stated this week that Scotland could medal on the Gold Coast and Dalziel is in agreement. “There is a 100 per cent a chance that we can medal, for sure,” he enthused.
“We know where we want to be in terms of our performance and fitness by the time Dubai comes around.
“No Scotland team has won a medal in a team sport at a Games so that would be a bonus. I certainly believe that in this group of players we have the talent and battling qualities to be able to do that.”