Scots heartened by Seville 7s showing
Scotland finished a credible seventh at the HSBC World Sevens Series in Seville this weekend, with only narrow losses to the all-conquering South Africa and England preventing Ciaran Beattie’s charges from an even more impressive result.
Drawn alongside Australia, Canada and Kenya – teams all ranked above them in the series standings – Scotland emerged from a competitive Pool D as quarter-finalists, with wins over the latter two teams ensuring a last eight berth in Andalusia.
Tasked with the honour of playing the event’s opening match at the Estadio de Cartuja, Scotland got their tournament off to a flyer as tries from Gavin Lowe, Lee Jones and Paddy Kelly, all converted by Lowe, earned a 21-5 win over Canada.
On Day 2, the Scots lost out to an excellent Australian outfit but stayed calm against Kenya in the fight to finish pool runners-up, as Lowe and then Ross McCann hurtled over to seal a 14-10 victory.
The quarter-final, against a South African side who had won all three of the HSBC World Sevens Series events to-date this season, could scarcely have got off to a better start, as skipper Jamie Farndale finished from distance in the opening minute, in doing so becoming Scotland’s second-highest try scorer on the circuit with a 113th for his country.
An enthralling contest ebbed and flowed with Scotland refusing to rule out pulling off a major shock but despite further scores from Reiss Cullen, Kaleem Barreto and Jordan Edmunds, it was the Blitzbokke who went through 31-24.
Day 3 saw Scotland pitted against England for a right to reach the 5th-place play-off and fine margins told in a game where the try count finished level at two apiece. Elms and Farndale both crossed but it wasn’t quite enough against many of the squad’s Team GB colleagues, with England progressing 12-10.
Head Coach Beattie reflected on his side’s Spanish efforts: “Overall we’re pleased with where the squad is at in its development after some good performances. The encouraging thing is that we believe there is more to come from this group.”
Results in Seville meant that Scotland finished in seventh place, earning 10 HSBC World Sevens Series points in the process. The circuit must now wait until the weekend of April 9/10 for its next event in Singapore, with legs in Vancouver and Los Angeles rescheduled on account of the continuing global coronavirus situation.