USA-born speedster Femi Sofolarin to be ‘captured by Scotland

Femi Sofolarin, left, beats England's Dan Norton to score a try during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event at the Cape Town Stadium in South Africa. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty
Femi Sofolarin, left, beats England's Dan Norton to score a try during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event at the Cape Town Stadium in South Africa. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty
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While tradition may place more value on a 21st birthday, the keys to the door come a year earlier in the rugby world.

Femi Sofolarin, the teenage wing with speed to burn who sealed a famous 26-24 win over England at the Cape Town 
Sevens in December, turns 20 on Wednesday and, under World Rugby rules, will be “captured” if, or more likely when, he represents Scotland at the world sevens series in Hamilton, New Zealand, the following weekend.

Born in the USA, Boston, Massachusetts, to be precise, the London-raised flier has taken a winding road to finally becoming officially qualified for the land of his grandfather.

He represented Scotland Under-16s at a Six Nations 15-a-side festival in Wales, Great Britain in Youth Olympic qualifying before, as part of the Harlequins academy, he was taken into the England Sevens set up and played for them in three legs of the world circuit.

His age meant that he was still not tied to a country and the Newcastle University student has switched his allegiance back to Scotland with a core Sevens contract awarded in November.

Reports are that the speedster is fit and will play in Hamilton next weekend, meaning his future lies in the dark blue of Scotland.

Glasgow Warriors utility back Paddy Kelly is in line to make his Scotland Sevens debut in New Zealand. The former Under-20 internationalist and recipient of the Macphail Scholarship in 2016, replaces Scott Bickerstaff in the only change to the squad that went on to reach the quarter-finals in Cape Town last month, when Scotland defeated England and Spain before losing to eventual winners New Zealand, with whom they are drawn in Pool A in Hamilton, alongside USA and Wales.

Scotland sevens coach Ciaran Beattie said: “It’s important to not get carried away after a really good showing in Cape Town, but there are signs we’re are improving as a group.

“It’s a tough pool with USA and Wales as well as the tournament hosts, but we showed in our last match against New Zealand that we can cause teams problems.

“Consistency and having faith in our structures will stand us in good stead both here in Hamilton and going forward to Sydney and beyond.”

Scotland take on both USA and Wales in the early hours of Saturday 25 January (GMT) before facing hosts New Zealand on Sunday.