Scotland Sevens Launch full-time squad
Scotland Sevens Launch full-time squad
SCOTLAND 7s LAUNCH FULL-TIME SQUAD
Twelve players are named today in the new full-time Scotland sevens squad. They will compete at international level in the forthcoming season’s HSBC Sevens World Series.
The announcement underlines Scottish Rugby’s desire to best prepare for the series and a successful medal challenge for the Scotland 7s squad at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Today's news was also welcomed by the Scottish Government. Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said: "I welcome today's announcement by Scottish Rugby of Scotland's first ever full time professional Sevens squad.
“This is a significant development in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. Having a strong, settled squad, gaining valuable experience and performing well in the IRB Sevens World Series should stand us in good stead when we take to the field in Glasgow in three years time."
Speaking as the first squad was revealed at Murrayfield today, Head of Performance Rugby Graham Lowe declared: “Sevens is a phenomenon. It’s growing rapidly and if we want to be competitive on the global stage then we had to find a set-up that would suit Scottish rugby.
“We believe the squad we are announcing today will enable us to meet that goal in the HSBC Sevens World Series and with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games firmly on the horizon we want to give ourselves every opportunity of improving on our sixth place finish at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi and to be there challenging for medals on our home soil in three years time.”
The full-time squad consists of some seasoned international sevens campaigners, emerging, young professional players and Elite Development players.
The squad: Struan Dewar, James Eddie, James Fleming, Colin Gregor, Peter Horne and Andrew Turnbull, plus from Scottish Rugby’s Elite Development players: Adam Ashe, Sam Hidalgo Clyne, Kerr Gossman, Rory Hughes, Sean Kennedy and Hamish Watson.
Scotland 7s coach Graham Shiel explained: “Sevens is the priority for these 12 players. They can play with the pro-teams or in club rugby outwith the sevens window but, when it comes to preparation and playing in the HSBC Sevens World Series, then Scotland 7s has first call on their services and that’s different to the way we have operated in the past.
“When we have had consistency in our squad we have been able to be competitive on the world stage. In the past we have had players with some sevens expertise but, particularly when we have been choosing players from the pro-teams, we have been asking players whose focus was understandably on XVs to prepare in a very limited time frame, and play sevens.
“Now the emphasis for this group will be sevens and that matters a huge amount in terms of their preparation, their strength and conditioning and their nutrition.”
The six recruits from the EDP include three players from the most recent Scotland under-20 squad – scrum-half Kennedy, openside flanker Watson and winger Gossman and three players from the Scotland under-18 side – No 8 Ashe, stand-off/full-back Hidalgo Clyne and wing Hughes.
Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Player Development said: “One of our aims for our Elite Development Players is to accelerate their development and we believe that the six players will benefit hugely from being part of the Scotland sevens squad.
“They will play international sevens and the skills they need to thrive in that environment are probably more transferable than they have ever been for their overall development as players.
“Sevens has always been associated with running and flair but, just as in the XV-a-side game, the contact element is also paramount now and if you can hone your technique in sevens to ensure you win the collisions as well developing other core skills, then those very elements will stand you in good stead in XVs.”
Shiel added that discussions are ongoing with clubs and players to augment the full-time Scotland sevens squad with a club specialist sevens squad of around 10-12 players who will receive support from the sportscotland Institute of Sport around, strength and conditioning, psychology and nutrition as well as specialist sevens coaching from Shiel and his Scottish Rugby colleagues.
Exiled players outwith Scotland, such as Michael Fedo, may also be brought in to further augment the full-time squad.
Colin Gregor, who first played for Scotland 7s eight years ago and is our top points scorer in the world series, said: “It’s a really exciting time to be selected for the full-time Scotland 7s squad.
“The sevens game is taking off in such a big way with the decision that sevens will be part of the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and you’re seeing many countries now investing really seriously in rugby.
“It’s just three years to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and we have shown that when we have a consistent squad we can compete on the HSBC 7s World Series and we have to look to build on that and improve in the years ahead.”
The new Canterbury of New Zealand Scotland sevens kit, including a change strip, was also unveiled today. It will be available from Greaves Sports’ Scottish Rugby Store at Murrayfield, from Monday (25 July).
Can see a rapid improvement in our results from now on, looking forward to the new season with great hope of us possibly challenging for Plate or if we're really lucky, Cup honours.
22-07-11 03:03 PM