Scotland 7s will welcome three new elite development players (EDP) and two new contracted players into their set-up for season 2012/13.
With the first full-time national sevens squad introduced at the beginning of season 2011/12 the new players will replace last season’s EDP players who have now moved into the 15-a-side game and bolster the current squad.
The players coming in on two year full contracts are Loughborough Students captain and scrum-half Russell Weir (22), who travelled with the extended Scotland 7s squad to Hong Kong in March to compete in the GFI HKFC Hong Kong Tens with the Scottish Barbarians, and Moseley back-row Michael Maltman (21).
They will be joined by Alex Glashan (18), Chris Dean (18) (both Edinburgh Academy) and Neil Herron (17) (West of Scotland) who come in for the first time, and Rory Hughes, who earned his first sevens cap in London a fortnight ago. Hughes continues his involvement last season as an EDP.
Scotland 7s head coach Graham Shiel said: “It’s fantastic to bring in two new full-time contracted 7s players and help them develop in their rugby careers.
“Michael has had two seasons playing Championship rugby with Moseley and has been outstanding. He is a hard edged forward who will bring an array of talents into our squad. He will be joined by Russell who has trained with Scotland 7s this season. He will be a great asset with the ability to play both scrum and fly half. This is his first step into professional rugby.
“Following last year’s decision to use 7s rugby as a development tool for professional rugby we are delighted to bring in three new Elite Development Players who will be focussed on 7s up until the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“All three players have a different skills set and will have great opportunity to develop their strengths on the IRB 7s circuit, arguably one of the harshest rugby environments for young players to grow.
“Chris is an athletic and mobile back-rower who can apply his skills in the midfield. Alex is known to open games right up with his quality of running and passing and Neil is a very physical centre who will constantly challenge defences.”
Scotland 7s preparations for the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series and the Sevens Rugby World Cup qualification tournament in July will start this weekend when they will compete, in Lyon, in the first tournament of three in the FIRA-AER European GP Sevens Series.
The squad will take on England, Spain, Georgia, Ukraine and The Netherlands on Saturday (2 June) and Sunday (3 June) before moving into knock-out stages. The team to travel to Lyon will be announced later this week.
Colin Gregor, Andrew Turnbull, Struan Dewar, Mark Robertson, James Fleming, Russell Weir, Michael Maltman, Rory Hughes, Neil Herron, Chris Dean, Alex Glashan.
In due course this squad will be supplemented with sportscotland institute supported players from the club game in Scotland.
Scottish Rugby works in partnership with sportscotland, the national agency for sport. In 2011, sportscotland invested a total of £156,000 of National Lottery funding into Scottish Rugby’s 7s programme. sportscotland also supports Scottish Rugby 7s by providing high performance expertise through its institute network.