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.
This week's entry sees Johnstone back from Sevens and the City, in London, where Scotland came runners-up in the final, and preparing to leave team camp in Stirling to move into the athletes village in Glasgow.
"We returned from the weekend in good form from our warm-up tournament at the Sevens in the City event at Allianz Park. It proved to be a very useful exercise for us. We won our first match - a win, although it was a bit scrappy. We then lost our second match where forcing our game, in the end, cost us. However following that disappointment, things without doubt improved and we defeated a strong Wales side. This performance was pleasing and we seemed to find our 'groove', as it were.
This saw us get to the final where we met a strong England side. This game proved to be an intense and close fixture which we unfortunately lost 12-10. However there were positives to take from both our last two games. It has definitely moved us forward as a squad as it was the first time we had played together competitively as this particular team.
Monday this week was used as a recovery or rest day. We then joined up again at preparation camp on Tuesday which was also fairly light, with us gently getting back up to speed. The rest of the week saw us back to training twice a day with weights also included. We are also training in the afternoon and evening times now. This is the only real difference in our structure of training, as it will reflect when we play at competition time. We have also looked at areas where we need to improve from the weekend's tournament and these areas have been addressed this week.
This was our last week in our preparation camp in Stirling as we left here yesterday (Friday) before entering the athletes' village in Glasgow tomorrow (Sunday). As I have already mentioned in previous weeks, the facility where we have been undertaking our preparations has been first class and everything has run smoothly, due to the help of the support staff around campus and our team manager. Training this week has been vitally important to get things ironed out and in place before we get into the immediate build-up of the Commonwealth Games!
The squad is still in confident mood with excitement levels starting to increase as the games are fast approaching."
Scotland 7s compete at Glasgow 2014 on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July at Ibrox Stadium. Their pool games on Saturday are against New Zealand (13.56), Barbados (18.02) and Canada (21.04). Sunday's matches are dependent on Saturday's results.
For the latest ticket information on rugby sevens and the other 16 Commonwealth Games sports, see the Glasgow 2014 web site