Scotland 7s will compete in the opening leg of the FIRA-AER European GP Sevens Series this weekend (Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June) in Lyon, and seven uncapped club payers have today been named in the squad to take on the challenge.
Making the step from the club game into international sevens are Greig Ryan, Morgan Ward (both Aberdeen Grammar), Darren Gillespie, Lewis Young (both Jed-Forest), Fraser Brown, Colin Goudie (both Heriot’s) and Jack Ferguson (Watsonians).
They will be joined by Scotland 7s full-time player Struan Dewar, EDP Rory Hughes and club players Mark Cairns (Currie), Callum Anderson (Aberdeen Grammar) and Andrew Skeen (Melrose), who will captain the side. These three club players all have previous experience on the HSBC Sevens World Series circuit.
For head coach Graham Shiel the three tournaments on the European circuit are a chance to look at the best players within the Kings of the Sevens and Legacy Sevens series as he develops his squad for the season ahead and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
He said: “The FIRA-AER series is a new addition to our season and a good opportunity for us to offer an opportunity to our club players who have been aligned to the sevens programme over the last year a chance to play in an international competition.
“We’re always looking ahead to the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and trying to establish a team that will be successful. Therefore for this tournament I have brought in five experienced players with exposure on the HSBC Sevens World Series and new blood from the domestic tournaments who I believe can make the step up.”
The Scots will play Spain (11am local time), the Netherlands (1.20pm local time), England (4pm local time) and Ukraine(5pm local time) on Saturday before completing their group matches on Sunday morning against Georgia at (11am local time). They will then move into the knock-out stages on Sunday afternoon.
Shiel continued: “The weekend will be tough, but all the players are coming off the back of a good season and are well prepared.
“First of all Spain will be a stiff challenge for us, Netherlands and Ukraine have a robust structure and are always improving, but we don’t have much prior knowledge of them, and England need no introduction; they will come into this competition strong. Finally, Georgia will be a very good side.
“Thank you to all the clubs who are supporting us in these tournaments and providing players to make this next step into international sevens.”
Scotland 7s to compete in FIRA-AER GP Sevens Series in Lyon: *Greig Ryan, Struan Dewar, Rory Hughes, *Mark Cairns, Darren Gillespie, Fraser Brown, Morgan Ward, Jack Ferguson, *Andrew Skeen, Colin Goudie, *Lewis Young, *Callum Anderson.
*sportscotland institute supported player
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.