Scots Learn Opponents For Vital Preparation

Coach Stephen Gemmell and the Scotland 7s development squad, the Scottish Thistles, today learned their opponents for this weekend's SCC International Rugby 7s in Singapore. The Scots will face the Arabian Gulf, who they have been drawn against for the first leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, as well as Japan, playing under the banner of Tamariva, and the Red Dot Rebels, a local select side.

Coach Stephen Gemmell and the Scotland 7s development squad, the Scottish Thistles, today learned their opponents for this weekend's SCC International Rugby 7s in Singapore.

The Scots will face the Arabian Gulf, who they have been drawn against for the first leg of the IRB Sevens World Series, as well as Japan, playing under the banner of Tamariva, and the Red Dot Rebels, a local select side.

Gemmell believes this weekend is ideal preparation for his squad ahead of the start of the 2008/09 IRB Sevens World Series next month.

"The Red Dot Rebels are a local select side so will give us a good first up game and will allow us to put into practice what we've worked on in training, however, the focus this week is on ourselves," he said. _x001C_It's very hot and humid here but the squad have trained well. The players will need to adapt to these conditions because they are similar to those we will experience in Dubai.

Tamariva are a Japanese side, and having played Japan on the IRB circuit, sevens suits them because they play a fast attacking game. So we'll need to keep our shape because they'll test our organisation in defence._x001D_

The Scots' final game of day one will see them face the Arabian Gulf who they will also come up against on day one of the IRB Dubai Sevens at the end of November. Gemmell added: _x001C_It'll be good to familiarise ourselves with the Arabian Gulf because we last played them over a year ago and it gives us an opportunity to play them prior to the World Series.

We are the top seeds in our section and I've every confidence that we'll progress to the top competition on day two because of how preparations have gone so far._x001D_

Scotland's two other opponents in Pool B of the IRB Dubai Sevens, South Africa and Kenya, are also finalising their preparations this weekend. South Africa, under the banner of South African Vipers, are competing in the Singapore Sevens whilst Kenya play a Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifier in Tunisia.

Tomorrow morning, Gemmell and the entire Scottish Thistles squad will take a rugby session with some pupils from St Andrews College, the squad's training base whilst in Singapore.

Squad news - Stirling County's Kevin Bryce has been called into the Scottish Thistles squad for this weekend's SCC International Rugby Sevens, replacing Alex Dunbar who had to withdraw due to a knee injury. Bryce is a member of Scottish Rugby's Area Institute supported National Academy.

Scottish Thistles' fixtures for day one of the SCC International Rugby 7s (Saturday 1 November):
Scottish Thistles v Red Dot Rebels (kick-off 9:48am)
Scottish Thistles v Tamariva (kick-off 12:48pm)
Scottish Thistles v Arabian Gulf (kick-off 4:24pm)

All times are local.

Pool D draw for the SCC International Rugby 7s: Scottish Thistles, Arabian Gulf, Tamariva, Red Dot Rebels

Scottish Thistles squad (sponsor Premier Alloys) to play in the SCC International Rugby Sevens in Singapore on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 November: Scott Forrest (Ayr)* CAPTAIN, Roddy Grant (West of Scotland)*, Chris Fusaro (Heriot's)*, Struan Dewar (Heriot's)**, Ashleah McCulloch (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)**, Mike Adamson (Glasgow Warriors), Alex Blair (Edinburgh Accies)*, Graham Hogg (Hawick)*, Rory Hutton (Hawick)*, Grant Anderson (Ayr)*, Tom Bury (Boroughmuir)**, Kevin Bryce (Stirling County)**

* = Member of Scottish Rugby's National Academy
** = Member of Scottish Rugby's Area Institute supported National Academy