Farndale ready for duty ahead of World Series return
“So proud.” Simple, yet genuine words from Scotland 7s new captain, Jamie Farndale, when asked about his appointment.
Ahead of a huge year for Scotland 7s, Farndale has spoken of his delight at leading his country during the HSBC World Sevens Series, with both the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens to come in 2022.
Having seen the international calendar suspended in time throughout much of the Covid-10 pandemic, Scotland 7s return to action in the upcoming legs in Malaga (January 21-23) and Seville (January 28-30), much to the delight of players and fans alike.
The skipper, who previously held the role in a joint capacity with Robbie Fergusson for the 2018/19 campaign, allows himself a moment to appreciate the privilege: “It’s something you grow up dreaming about – captaining Scotland – it’s a real highlight of my career so far and an honour that I don’t take lightly. It was a very special thing to be asked,” he said.
“I’ve been around rugby for 11 years in that elite environment and I’ve worked with so many different leaders, seen different ways to approach things and for me, especially in sevens, everyone shares a bit of the responsibility of leadership.
“With seven of you on the pitch and a squad of 13 travelling, quite naturally that sharing of leadership forms. I think this year being away with Team GB in Dubai for the last couple of legs of the series, I’ve come back seen how many boys have stepped up in our Scotland squad.
“So for me it’s a case of helping facilitate that leadership throughout the group, and keeping the good work going.”
Farndale will lead a squad containing no fewer than six debutants in Spain, but he’s seen enough of the group to recognise their talent, adding: “I’ve been really impressed, firstly with the skill level of the new guys in the squad – it’s been amazing to see. But also the buzz around the squad, a lot of which comes from Beatso [Head Coach Ciaran Beattie]. You won’t meet a more passionate and enthusiastic man when it comes to sevens and that is very infectious!
“We talk a lot about making Scotland proud and that fits into what we’re trying to do with the platforms of the series, Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens. It’s about going out there and taking the game on – our strapline for this year is a Gaelic phrase: Thoir Alba Comhla Rinn, which means Bring Scotland With Us, which is how we want to portray our squad.
“We want people to follow us and get behind us throughout such an important year for sevens.”
Scotland 7s will be the first representative side to taste action in 2022, a notion that Jamie says should inspire the squad: “That’s a really good way of looking at it. If we can bring a brand of excitement to Scottish rugby fans – what a way to start 2022 for all of our national teams, ahead of the Six Nations and of course Scotland Women aiming to reach the World Cup later in the year.
“We’re not going there to sneak our way through here and there; we’re going to challenge ourselves against the best teams in the world and that starts with South Africa in that opening game in Malaga.”
“Some of my most memorable moments in rugby so far have come in competitions like the HSBC World Sevens Series, Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup Sevens; they’re such special events and if I can get my job as captain right, the aim is to build for these events to ensure we give as good an account of ourselves as we possibly can.”
Scotland will compete in Pool A of this weekend’s HSBC World Sevens Series in Malaga against South Africa, England and Fiji, with those results determining both the latter stages of this event and the seedings for next week’s leg in Seville.