Scotland’s impressive start to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series hit a speed bump in Sydney this weekend as injuries took their toll in the Australian heat.
Scotland went into the competition without four key players, including captain Scott Riddell with Gavin Lowe and Bobby Beattie additionally joining the injury list over the course of the competition.
Despite failing to reach the Cup Quarter Finals for the first time this series, Calum MacRae’s men sit in fifth place on the overall World Series table and have been drawn in Pool D along with Australia, Fiji and Japan ahead of next month’s Las Vegas competition.
Drawn against hosts Australia plus New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, Scotland knew they were going to be at their very best to progress and got off to to a positive start with victory in their opening game.
Tries from Mark Robertson, George Horne, Nyle Godsmark and Bobby Beattie steering them to a 26-12 victory over Papua New Guinea.
Next up came the hosts and with a packed Allianz Stadium behind them it was Australia who took the win.
Fraser Lyle and James Fleming crossed for Scotland but they were outscored seven tires to two as the match finished 14-43.
This set up a winner takes all clash against New Zealand with a place in the Cup Quarter Finals the prize.
Despite taking an early lead through Lowe, Scotland couldn’t hold New Zealand out who snuck a tight affair 7-14 leaving Scotland starting two competing for the Challenge Trophy.
Samoa were the opponents in the Challenge Trophy Quarter Final and once again it was Scotland out of the blocks the quickest, Lowe opening the scoring for the second game in a row.
However, the Pacific Islanders hit back, leading 7-14 at half time.
A James Fleming score levelled things before Samoa hit back again, taking the game 14-21 resulting in Scotland facing Kenya in the 13th place Semi Final.
A Scott Wight try was cancelled out as scores stayed level at half time, however the Africans took a 12-point lead in the second period and late try from Jamie Farndale wasn’t enough to rescue the result as Kenya won 14-19.
Scotland Head Coach Calum MacRae said: “We need to take the rough with the smooth and learn from this tournament as a group.
“In the last three games against New Zealand, Samoa and Kenya we were creating try scoring opportunities but not converting them but in international rugby if you don’t get your nose in front by taking those chances you are going to pay the price.
“The review will be tough viewing for some but we need to take it on the chin to improve.
“It’s disappointing picking up the injuries we have over the last two weeks of competition.
“We will regroup and I have no doubts we will bounce back from this such is the character of the team.
“That will be centred around doing our basics well under pressure in training.
“We know the lie of the land and need to control the things we can, that being the standards we set in training leading into Las Vegas.
“The new caps, Gregor (Hunter) and Ben (Robbins), will take a lot from being in competition for the first time.”