Scotland Women 7S Set For First Steps In Fira

Scotland Women 7s coach Scott Forrest has made just two changes to the side that won three out of four fixtures at Rugby Rocks in London two weeks ago, to go forward to this weekend's FIRA-AER qualifier in Belgium.

Forrest said: "We're very excited about the weekend, it's what myself and the players have been building towards. Preparations have gone well and there's been outstanding commitment from the players, not just when training but increasing their knowledge about sevens off the pitch too."

Lisa Martin on the break at Rugby Rocks (photo: Rachel Law)

Katy Green, unavailable for London, returns to the team while Sarah Sexton comes in for Sarah Law who took a slight knock in training this weekend.

Forrest said: "There were lots of positives to take from our first
 tournament, in Amsterdam, and the wins gave a real boost 
to some of the players who had had a tough Six Nations as part of the full XV squad. London was another step in the process and gave me the chance to see some different playing combinations."

Scotland's pool in Ghent consists largely of those relatively new to the small-sided game - Georgia, Malta, Norway and Finland - although Finland have only recently dropped out of the European seedings; Scotland beat Norway 46-0 at the recent London event.

Forrest continues: "Finland were in the top 12 and will definitely be out to prove a point. We expect Georgia to be very physical and Malta are a bit of an unknown. But, as I've told the girls, we have to focus purely on ourselves - and I've been around the game long enough to know that anything can happen in sevens!"

There are two European qualifying tournaments happening this weekend, one in Ghent and one in Bulgaria, to provide the teams for the four available slots in the final RWC European qualifying tournament in Moscow at the end of the month.

Ten teams compete in two groups in Ghent and Scotland are pooled with Georgia, Malta, Norway and Finland. They must come first or second in their group to meet first or second from the other group comprising Ireland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland and Israel. They must then win or come runners-up overall to proceed to the WRWC 2013 qualifier final in Moscow on 30 June and 1 July. This weekend's tournament will also give Scotland a seeding, for future competition.

Teams competing in Bulgaria for the other two slots in Moscow are Romania, Croatia, Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Denmark, Andorra, Hungary, Lithuania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Wales and Slovakia.

The twelve European teams with established sides and seedings who have already qualified for the Moscow tournament are: England, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, France, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Moldova, Ukraine and Switzerland.

Should Scotland get through this weekend, they will be competing for a top six place in Moscow to qualify for the Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens. Outwith Europe five teams – South Africa, USA, Russia (as hosts), Australia and New Zealand – have qualified already, with Australia the current title holders.

The 2013 Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens features the top 16 women’s teams and takes place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow from 28 to 30 June.

Scotland Women 7s match schedule for FIRA-AER Women's 7s European Championship

Saturday 9 June
Scotand v Finland (kick-off 10.40am)
Scotland v Norway (kick-off 1.40pm)
Scotland v Malta (kick-off 3.40pm)

Sunday 10 June
Scotland v Georgia (kick-off 11.20am)

Further opponents dependent on results

Scotland Women 7s squad for FIRA-AER Women's 7s European Championship

1. Susie Brown (Richmond)

2. Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)

3. Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)

4. Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars)

5. Megan Gaffney (Murrayfield Wanderers)
6. Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers)

7. Sarah Dixon (Stirling County)

8. Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers)
9. Annabel Sergeant (Murrayfield Wanderers)

10.Stephanie Johnston (RHC Cougars)

11.Lauren Harris (Melrose)

12.Sarah Sexton (Murrayfield Wanderers)