Team Scotland squads finish sixth at Commonwealth Games
Scotland’s Men and Women both earned sixth places at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham over the course of the weekend.
Team Scotland’s Men were pipped by Samoa in their fifth-place play-off in a bid to tally a best-ever Games result, the Pacific Islanders coming from behind to edge a seven-try thriller at Coventry Stadium in front of a passionate home support.
Tries from Robbie Fergusson and Femi Sofolarin (2) looked to have offered Scotland a route to victory only for the Samoans to rally and score two quickfire tries in a 24-19 success.
Scotland’s path to that point had seen them beat Tonga (41-0) and Malaysia (50-12) in straightforward pool matches, with Sofolarin grabbing a hat-trick in the former and Jake Henry repeating the feat in the latter.
Eventual winners South Africa would put paid to Scotland’s chances of topping Pool B with an impressive 34-0 win, and in facing Fiji (who would also reach the final) in the last eight, Ciaran Beattie’s charges couldn’t quite keep pace in their bid for a medal.
That brought about a showdown with Kenya for a spot in the final of the 5-8 play-offs and in nail-biting fashion, Scotland came back with seconds left on the clock to snatch victory thanks to Harvey Elms and then Ross McCann tries.
That set up the tie with Samoa in a bid to better Games results of 2010 and 2018, but Scotland just came up short and ended up equalling those two past performances.
Captain Jamie Farndale said: “We said we wanted to do something special and articulated that as a medal, and then yesterday [Saturday] was tough, we came up against two of the best teams on the series and who played their absolute best game.
“It was about resetting the target to a best-ever finish and we just fell short. It still feels like we’ve done something special and that’s been one of the most enjoyable weeks I’ve been a a part of.”
Team Scotland Women, taking part in their inaugural Commonwealth Games, also came up against eventual finalists in their pool stage, with Australia and Fiji proving too strong for Scott Forrest’s squad.
They impressed in their final group game, however, with Rhona Lloyd helping herself to a hat-trick in a 33-12 win over South Africa to set up a tie with an inexperienced Sri Lanka side in a bid to reach the 5th-place play-off.
A resounding 58-0 win in that game, featuring a Megan Gaffney brace as well as Lloyd racing home for four more tries, set up a mouth-watering finale against hosts, England.
In a packed Coventry Stadium, it was England who set the tone after a tight first half that ended 7-5, as they scored a flurry of tries to win 29-5 and with it, claim fifth place.
Head coach Forrest said: “As an experience for the players, it was brilliant. Obviously we would have liked to have performed better in the last game and to be fair, England won the moments in the second half and we were chasing the game.
“For a first Commonwealth Games, to come and get two wins, I’m very proud to say I’ve worked with this group of players. We’ve created something special these past 11 weeks and it meant a lot to all of us.”