Commonwealth Games players boost sevens side for Moscow

Scotland 7s head coach, Stephen Gemmell, has made six changes to his squad that will compete in the second leg of the FIRA-AER Grand Prix Sevens Series this weekend (28-29 June), in Moscow.

Roddy Grant returns to Scotland 7sStruan Dewar, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Andrew Turnbull, Nyle Godsmark and Gregor Young all retain their places while a number of the players selected for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (26-27 July), make their return.

First of all, Roddy Grant will pull on the national short game jersey for the first time since 2010, while Glasgow Warriors, Mark Bennett, Lee Jones and James Eddie look to add to their cap hauls.

Full-time sevens forward Scott Riddell makes his return having missed the first leg of the tournament and Lewis Young completes the line-up as he looks to win his third cap on the FIRA circuit.

Gemmell said: “An important part of our Commonwealth Games preparations are about getting the professional players who have been heavily involved with XVs reintegrated into sevens.

“Each player we have considered on an individual basis, for instance Sean [Lamont] came into camp this week off the back of two full international fixtures and this week is important to integrate him into training.

“For Lee [Jones], James [Eddie] and Mark [Bennett] it is a good opportunity for them to get more sevens game-time under their belts as we approach four weeks to the Games.

Nyle [Godsmark] unfortunately got injured in the first play of the first game in Lyon, so I have handed him another opportunity to show the squad what he can offer.”

Scotland 7s share Pool B with Germany, Portugal and Belgium on Saturday (28 June), with their three ties at 8.28am, 11.28am and 2.28pm (UK time), respectively.  Their games on Sunday will be determined by their day one results.

In Moscow this weekend, exactly one year on from the Rugby World Cup 7s in the Russian capital, the Scots will look to put aside the mixed results from Lyon, three weeks ago and bring more consistency to their performances.

This weekend’s tournament marks one month until Glasgow 2014 and their penultimate tournament before they take to the turf at Ibrox.

Gemmell continued: “This weekend’s tournament will sharpen our focus once again before we move into preparation camp in Stirling in a week’s time, then our final competition [Sevens in the City] in London, on Saturday 12 July.

“In terms of our group in Moscow, Belgium reached the final in Lyon and turned us over in our pool, Germany have shown they are more than capable of winning games and Portugal we know well from the World Series.

In terms of Belgium and Germany, these are two countries who, like many others, have shown how important FIRA is in terms of aiming for qualification for the World Series and they will be looking to gain vital series points towards that goal"

“This is international rugby and if we don’t get the key areas of our game we have been working on consistently right, we will be punished.”

Scotland 7s to compete in the second leg of the FIRA-AER Grand Prix Sevens Series in Moscow (28-29 June): Scott Riddell, Roddy Grant (Edinburgh Rugby), Struan Dewar, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors), Andrew Turnbull, Nyle Godsmark (Edinburgh Accies), Gregor Young, Lewis Young, Lee Jones and James Eddie (both Glasgow Warriors).

James JohnstoneCommonwealth Games diary

Every Friday from this coming weekend (27 June) Scotland 7s back, James Johnstone will be sharing his thoughts and experiences from the Scotland 7s camp, exclusively with www.scottishrugby.org as his side prepare for Glasgow 2014.

Johnstone has won 18 caps for Scotland 7s on the HSBC Sevens World Series and scored 22 tries. He was also involved in last summer's Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow.  He is one of four full-time sevens professionals selected for this summer's Commonwealth Games and this will be the first time he will be involved in an international multi-sport event. 

Log on to the website this Friday to read Johnstone's first diary entry.