Barely time to Brive in brief build-up

Scotland Women's 7s travel to Brive this weekend for their opening of two FIRA Grand Prix tournaments after a brief build-up and the introduction of a number of new players.
 
A number of the extended squad (pictured above) have been involved throughout this season's 6 Nations, with just a two-week break prior to the FIRA Women's Rugby World Cup qualifier, then a fortnight's rest before last weekend's opening sevens training and this weekend's (25/26 May) selection camp.
 
  
 
The squad sees the return of a core of players from last year's debut sevens season and this year's XVs, in the shape of back row Tess Forsberg, winger Megan Gaffney, centres Katy Green and Annabel Sergeant, scrum half Sarah Law and full back Steph Johnston.
 
New additions to the XV-a-side squad this year, winger Lyndsay O'Donnell and back row Kelly Shields are included, alongside experienced 61-cap lock Lindsay Wheeler and flanker Ruth Slaven, making her return after injury during the Rugby World Cup 7s qualifier in Moscow in 2012. New to the Scotland set-up are scrum half Jennifer Maxwell (above left) and winger Sarah Smith (above right).
 
 
Head coach Scott Forrest (pictured above) said: "This weekend went very well, obviously the good weather made a difference after last weekend's downpours. To train in decent conditions makes a huge difference because where the girls are with their skill levels just now means external factors like the weather impact do impact quite a bit.
 
"During both training weekends we've tried to mimic a sevens tournament as closely as possible; we've done three shorter sessions each day to get the players used to warming up, recovery, down-time then having to switch on again. But they've done really well with the amount of information that's been thrown at them."
 
Last year marked the debut for Scotland Women 7s with qualification for this season's FIRA Grand Prix events - where the top twelve teams in Europe compete for ten places in next year's tournament - and they narrowly missed out on a place at the Women's Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow in June.
 
Said Forrest: "Last year the girls came out of the 6 Nations and straight into two and a half months solid of sevens - that was a huge ask. Then they had two weeks off before going straight back into training for this year's 6 Nations, FIRA World Cup qualification then into this.

"But then you look at players like Megan (Gaffney) and Annabel (Sergeant) who pretty much played through the whole 6 Nations, the whole of FIRA and they're looking pretty sharp.

"We have a core group of players who played a lot of games last year and they're going to have to step up. They're young girls but they're now in a senior role because they've played one season of sevens. It's partly about results for the squad but ultimately if the girls come out of the five weeks as better players then that's what we take.
 
"Realistically we're going into this tournament ranked 11 out of 12 - we want to be ranked in the top ten. If we come out of it ranked ten then that's an improvement for us. The girls themselves have set some targets for the first game and said they want to improve on them throughout the first tournament."
 
Scotland's first opponents in their pool on Saturday are Ukraine, who they aslo met first in their pool last year in the Women's Rugby World Cup qualifier in Moscow.
 
Forrest said: "We were a bit shell-shocked going into that game. Once we got the Ukraine game out of the way last year we improved  but the girls themselves identified that we can't take a game to get into the tournament."
 
With this weekend's squad selected only for the Brive tournament, the squad will regroup at a training camp (8/9 June) before another squad is selected for the second and final tournament in Marbella (15/16 June).
 
Added Forrest: "People have work commitments, there will be injuries and people will have to step up."
 
Scotland Women 7s squad to compete in FIRA Grand Prix Series, Stadium Municipal, Brive, 1/2 June 2013
 
1. Lindsay Wheeler (Richmond)
2. Tess Forsberg (Richmond)
3. Lyndsay O'Donnell (Worcester)
4. Kelly Shields (Murrayfield Wanderers)
5. Megan Gaffney (Hillhead/Jordanhill)
6. Katy Green (Darlington Mowden Sharks)
7. Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
8. Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers)
9. Annabel Sergeant (Richmond)
10. Steph Johnston (RHC Cougars)
11. Jennifer Maxwell (Leeds Met University)
12. Sarah Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill)
 
 
Scotland compete in Pool B of the tournament against Ukraine, Italy, Ireland and France on day one and Spain on day two, with further opposition to be confirmed following the results of these matches.
 
England, Russia, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and Wales compete in Pool A.
 
Scotland must finish tenth or higher at the end of both tournaments (Marbella - 15/16 June) in order to retain their Grand Prix status and their final placing will give their ranking for 2014.
 
Brive match schedule (all times local)
Saturday 1 June
10:22 Ukraine v Scotland
13:02 Italy v Scotland
15:42 Ireland v Scotland
19:06 France v Scotland
 
Sunday 2 June
11:20 Spain v Scotland