Scotland finish fifth in New Zealand with four victories
Scotland’s impressive start to the 2018/19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series continued with a fifth-place finish in Hamilton.
John Dalziel’s men won two games on each day in New Zealand to secure a third consecutive quarter-final showing this season.
In a tournament where stalwart Scott Riddell was representing his country for the 70thtime, Scotland were drawn in a pool against France, Kenya and reigning champions South Africa and kicked off the tournament against the French.
Trailing 7-21 at half time, the Scots mounted an impressive comeback through co-captains Jamie Farndale and Robbie Fergusson before a brace of tries from Glenn Bryce at the death secured victory, 26-21.
In contrast, during their second game against the Kenyans Scotland had to survive a late rally from the Africans to hang on to the win.
Two more tries from Fergusson plus another from Gavin Lowe put the Scots in a commanding 19-0 lead and they showed defensive resilience in the second half to prevent the Kenyans from mounting a comeback, 19-10 the final score.
Up next were South Africa with the winners knowing they would top the pool and the Blitzboks showed exactly why they were the best team on the series last year. 26-7 the final score, Scotland’s try coming through Sam Pecqueur.
Drawn against the USA in the Quarter-Finals, Scotland gave themselves it all to do with a slow first half that saw them fall 0-19 behind.
However, just like in their opening game, they looked like a different team in the second seven and Fergusson and McFarland tries gave them hope. Looking for the winning score, a controversial refereeing decision stopped the game with Scotland on the attack and it was the Americans who snatched the game 14-19.
Australia were the next opponents and John Dalziel’s men showed how clinical they could be against the best teams on the series, winning a game on day two for the first time this year 24-14. Two tries from McFarland plus one each for the co-captains setting Scotland on course to their win.
Through to the fifth-place play-off, the captains continued their try scoring exploits to cement a top five finish. A hat-trick from Fergusson, taking his tally for the weekend up to eight, and another dot-down from Farndale saw Scotland come back from the jaws of defeat to win 24-19.
Scotland 7s Head Coach John Dalziel said: “I’m really pleased for the boys, we played some really good rugby against some quality opposition across the weekend.
“We put ourselves into some dark holes at times but that’s often down to the level of the opposition and to be fair to the boys they never gave up.
“I’m so proud of the attitude, fight and commitment. I felt we were denied a place in the Quarter-Finals but rather than feel sorry for themselves the boys reacted by beating Australia and Samoa, two wins on day two is no mean feat.”