New Zealand stormed to the Scotland leg of the HSBC World Series for the fourth time on another day of high-octane thrills and spills in the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s at Scotstoun Stadium.
The men from the Pacific saw our Commonwealth Games pool rivals, Canada, off 54-7 in the final, courtesy of eight tries and captain DJ Forbes duly lifted the Cup.
While Scotland could not add an eighth successive victorious tie in a run that stretched back to Hong Kong – eventually succumbing to their bogey side Canada, in an uncompromising arm wrestle of a Cup semi-final – the fact that Stephen Gemmell’s charges added South Africa’s scalp to that of Australia, USA and Spain yesterday, added up to Scotland’s best result in five years, some very welcome 15 series points and left the 12,134 crowd (and a cumulative weekend attendance of 23,844) in an upbeat mood.
Scotland had gone into this weekend ranked 12th so to finish fourth exceeded the rankings handsomely and saw the hosts climb two places to tenth.
While New Zealand’s triumph in today’s final leaves them in pole position to retain the world series at Twickenham next weekend, there was also silverware for Wales in the Shield, France in the Bowl , England in the Plate and Fiji edging Scotland in the third place play-off.
The day had just about something for everyone: a lung-bursting sudden-death extra-time tie between USA and Japan in the shield semi-final; the sight of Michael Fedo on crutches making the effort to be in Scotstoun to cheer on his team-mates in the latter stages; more fancy dress than Mr Benn (for older readers) in the party stand; and even a red card for Wales’ Iolo Evans for a dangerous tackle in their Shield final.
Unfortunately for Scotland we had a drop-goal penalty too, from the man who makes Canada tick, Phil Mack, and that, ultimately, proved the difference between the teams in the semi-final.
In the Festival of Rugby there was much fun and friendship in the competition, while in the University challenge match, Glasgow emerged top dogs.
A new abbreviation was added to rugby’s lexicon this weekend too – and we do love our initials. The uninitiated (that means me – Ed) might have thought the TMO was in operation for any tries where there was some dubiety but in sevens it’s RVR – Referee Video Review (now you know).
We saw that very process during Scotland’s oh-so-tense semi-final against Canada, James Eddie getting back to deny Connor Braid at the corner flag in the shadow of the big screen.
Overall, then New Zealand worthy winners but have Scotland got their renaissance timing and selection right with July’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in mind?
Today’s results: Bowl quarter-finals: Samoa 31 USA 12; Argentina 35 Japan 7; Spain 24 Portugal 14; France 21 Wales 7
Cup quarter-finals: New Zealand 19 Australia 7; Fiji 14 England 12; Scotland 12 South Africa 7; Canada 14 Kenya 5
Shield semi-finals: USA 14 Japan 19; Portugal 7 Wales 38
Bowl semi-finals: Samoa 12 Argentina 29; Spain 0 France 24
Plate semi-finals: Australia 7 England 21; South Africa 7 Kenya 14
Cup semi-finals: New Zealand 19 Fiji 14; Scotland 7 Canada 10
Shield Final: Japan 12 Wales 29
Bowl Final: Argentina 14 France 20
Plate Final: England 26 Kenya 5
Third place play-off: Fiji 17 Scotland 10
Cup final: New Zealand 54 Canada 7
The draw for next weekend’s final leg of the word series at Twickenham will see Scotland in a pool with South Africa, France and Portugal.
The old east-west rivalry was rekindled once again at Scotstoun today as Edinburgh University and Glasgow University clashed, adopting the abbreviated game for this varsity encounter.
It was Glasgow University who came out on top recording a 24-19 win against their opposition, with a last minute try from captain Scott McKean sealing the victory.
McKean, said: “It was a great experience for all of us to play in-front of a big crowd at Scotstoun today, it’s probably the largest and noisiest we have, or ever will, run out to.
“We played an open and enjoyable style of rugby, and it’s always great when you get the chance to chuck the ball about.
“We don’t often get to play Edinburgh University as we don’t compete in the same league, so to go up against them at Scotstoun, and get the win, added to an already momentous occasion.”
The crowd were treated to a seven try tie, Glasgow grabbing four, with Edinburgh crossing the line three times.
The Glasgow scores came from Ben Docherty, Sam Bullock, Richard Murdoch, and McKean – Sam Bullock converting two of the tries.
Iain Sexton crossed the line twice for Edinburgh University with Hugh Browne, who duly converted his own score, also dotting down for a try. Will Stephen converted his side’s first try.
Glasgow University: Richard Murdoch, Ben Docherty, Jamie Cook, Blair Couper, , Sam Bullock, Andrew Warnock, Guy Fairburn, Mark Jackson, Scott McKean (captain) and John Rae.
Edinburgh University: Hugh Browne, Phil Blazquez, Iain Sexton, Ian Vance, Will Stephen, Noah Pflaum (captain), Ryan O'Leary, Brad Meeson, Alex Ash and Rory Jones.
The second day of the Daily Record Festival of Rugby built on the success of the first and saw a new variety of teams and levels competing on Scotstoun’s 3G pitch.
A series of exciting ties saw Edinburgh BATs lift the S1 cup and GHA take the S2 cup. Meanwhile, Hillhead-Jordanhill and the Community High School of Auchterarder won the under-15 and under-18 girls competitions, respectively.
GHA S2 captain, Euan Ramage, said: “We played well, defended well and our attack was excellent.
“We’re all very proud to play at an event as big as Glasgow 7s and it feels really good to have won.”
Scottish Rugby’s head of clubs and schools, Nick Rennie, said: “The day was fantastic. Teams came from all over the country, as far as Caithness, and they made an excellent display of running rugby.
“I think it’s great having the Festival of Rugby at as high profile an event as the Emirate Airline Glasgow 7s.
“It allows young players to get involved in world-class sport and will hopefully inspire them to go away, work on their skills and possibly run out as a professional player for Scotland in the future.”