Five To Make Irb 7S Debuts

Coach Stephen Gemmell has named five newcomers in the Scotland squad for the opening IRB World Series 7s tournaments in Dubai and George. Four of the five were part of the Rugby Ecosse squad that participated in last month's international tournament in Singapore - last season's Scotland under-18 graduates Chris Fusaro, Andrew Dymock and Grant Anderson; and Scotland club internationalist James Thompson, grandson of the "Voice of Rugby", Bill McLaren.

Coach Stephen Gemmell has named five newcomers in the Scotland squad for the opening IRB World Series 7s tournaments in Dubai and George.

Four of the five were part of the Rugby Ecosse squad that participated in last month's international tournament in Singapore - last season's Scotland under-18 graduates Chris Fusaro, Andrew Dymock and Grant Anderson; and Scotland club internationalist James Thompson, grandson of the "Voice of Rugby", Bill McLaren.

The fifth newcomer is Scott Newlands (Edinburgh), the former Kelso and Heriot's flanker who has recently recovered from a leg knock, having missed out on the IRB circuit last season when he was injured playing for the Border Reivers just before two tournaments.

Gemmell said: "I'm pleased with the balance of the squad. We've got a lot of young players who put their hand up for selection in Singapore where they performed well.

"Having Richie Vernon, Scott Newlands and Colin Gregor released from the pro environment is a boost for us. Colin has a huge amount of experience with 17 Scotland 7s caps and that will prove invaluable to us." Gregor, 26, last represented Scotland in the final two World Series tournaments last season in London and Edinburgh.

Scotland have been drawn in a pool with New Zealand, France and the Arabian Gulf for the Emirates tournament in Dubai on 30 November and 1 December. The following week in George, South Africa, they are in a pool alongside Samoa, Australia and Tunisia.

Gemmell added: "It's going to be tough. We open the entire World Series with our match against the reigning IRB 7s champions, New Zealand in Dubai, but I feel that we can build on where we finished last season."

Should Scotland improve on that ninth ranking spot - and given that South Africa were among the countries they defeated in the abbreviated game last season, it is attainable - then that will boost their prospects of more favourable draws at subsequent IRB tournaments.

The Scotland 7s squad, sponsored by Murray, will train for three days this week at Murrayfield before flying out to Dubai on Monday.

The culmination of this season's IRB circuit will once again be the Edinburgh Emirates 7s at Murrayfield on 31 May and 1 June 2008.

Scotland 7s squad for IRB tournaments in Dubai (30 November and 1 December) and George (7 and 8 December)

Scott Forrest (Ayr)* CAPTAIN, Calum Forrester (GHA)*, Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), Scott Newlands (Edinburgh), Chris Fusaro (Heriot's)**, Stephen McColl (Dunfermline)*, Colin Gregor (Glasgow Warriors), Chris Kinloch (Edinburgh Accies)*, James Thompson (Heriot's)*, Andrew Dymock (Dundee HSFP)**, Grant Anderson (Ayr)**, Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Hawks)*.

Coach - Stephen Gemmell; Physio - Dan Moore; Manager - Karen Burnett

* = Member of Scottish Rugby's National Senior Academy

** = Member of Scottish Rugby's National Junior Academy and supported by Area Institute of Sport