Newlands On Sevens Challenge

ImageScott Newlands admits he is targeting a place in Edinburgh's back-row when he returns from representing Scotland at the Dubai Rugby 7s.

The 22-year-old flanker is the only player from The Castle to be picked for the national Sevens squad who flew out to Dubai today (26 November).

Scotland are pooled in the same group as New Zealand, France and the Arabian Gulf, but Newlands believes the tough challenge ahead will be ideal preparation for him as he aims to make the breakthrough with Edinburgh.

Newlands said: "I"m hoping that once I get my sharpness and fitness back that I will be given a chance to show what I can do. Then hopefully I will be able to propel myself up the pecking order and get into the 22 and then a starting place at some point in the season.

"I"m delighted to be selected for Scotland and it is an opportunity for me to show what I can do on the world stage; testing myself against some of the best running rugby players around."

"We have got a tough group with New Zealand, France and the Arabian Gulf. But hopefully with the boys we"ve got we will be ready to go places, so I"m looking forward to it."

The ex-Scotland Under-21 international has only just recovered from a dead leg that left him sidelined from first team duties for three weeks and now he is hoping that playing high-tempo rugby will make him fitter than ever.

He said: "I have been injured for the last few weeks, so it hasn't been ideal preparation for the tournament. I"m naturally reasonably fit, but against guys who are quick it will be a test of my fitness.

"I got a dead leg which is usually a fairly minor injury and normally allows you to play within a week. But there was a build-up of fluid which didn't clear and eventually I had to go under ultrasound and have the fluid drained off. That is why it took longer than expected."

Should Newlands help Scotland win the tournament then he acknowledges it would be a highlight of his career so far; even surpassing the time when he met Location, Location, Location presenter Kirstie Allsopp.

He joked: "I kissed Kirstie on the cheek " that was definitely a highlight. But seriously I have played age-group for Scotland and now winning the Dubai 7s would be brilliant."