www.scottishrugby.org has signed-up the services of Scotland 7s back James Johnstone, to provide a diary of his experiences as he prepares for and competes in his first Commonwealth Games.
Johnstone has cemented himself in the Scotland 7s squad on the HSBC Sevens World Series throughout the 2013-14 season. To date he has won 18 caps and scored 22 tries. The Dumfries-born player signed full-time with the abbreviated national team following a spell as an elite development player with Glasgow Warriors.
Today, Johnstone shares his thoughts on his side’s third place finish in Moscow, last weekend (28-29 June) and his excitement about joining the Team Scotland camp in Stirling this weekend (5-6 July) with all 310 competing Scottish athletes.
This week has seen the squad return from Moscow where we were competing in the second FIRA-AER tournament of the season. We finished third in Russia and across the two tournaments in Lyon and Moscow we have a achieved a joint top ranking with England.
The weekend, in Russia, had positives and negatives and although some of the performances as a whole were not what we were looking for we still managed to win five of our six matches. In our last game we produced a good team performance and ended the weekend with something to build on, which was the most pleasing part of the competition.
Off the back of Moscow the start of this week was predominantly focussed on recovery. Therefore, training gradually built up as the days went on, with the intensity and volume of our sessions increasing yesterday and today.
We have debriefed on the FIRA-AER tournament and are looking to improve and work on a number of areas we have identified as a group.
There has been a buzz around the camp in Ravenscraig, this week, as we were gifted a cake by the North Lanarkshire Leisure staff who sent us off to the Commonwealth Games, given this is our last week in Motherwell.
We also received our Commonwealth Games training kit, which brings the reality of the event closer, and this weekend we are going into a Team Scotland camp in Stirling with all the selected Scottish athletes who will be competing in the Games and the Team Scotland staff.
I am really looking forward to getting to meet all the other members of the team. It dawns on me now how fast Glasgow 2014 is approaching.
Lastly, but not least, this week there was a change made to our 12-man squad, which has seen Tommy Seymour withdraw due to injury and be replaced by Stuart Hogg.
‘Hoggy’ is a familiar player to us all and having him announced in our team is exciting with the skills and abilities he will bring. Equally it is disappointing news to lose Tommy and we all hope he recovers quickly.