Scotland book Cup quarter-final berth in Dubai

Scotland 7s have booked their place in tomorrow’s Cup quarter-finals at the Dubai 7s, where they’ll lock horns with group C winners Fiji (kick-off 7.13am).

Lee Jones in DubaiThe Scots had the best possible start to the day by defeating current HSBC Sevens World Series runners-up Australia, 21-17, before being beaten by Wales, 31-19, who they ultimately relied on to see them through the group.

In their third group match, a last-gasp try from speedster Andrew Turnbull saw them beat Spain, 21-14. This meant Wales had to beat Australia in order for the Scots to progress. The right result came with the Welsh winning, 19-14.

Young half-back Jack Ferguson also made his Scotland 7s debut today, when he came on against Wales.

Head coach, Stephen Gemmell, was happy with the end result on day one.

He said: “I’m pleased because the players performed well today. We always knew this would be a tough pool, but we came out and fronted up to Australia this morning and we won two games.

“We now want to push on and make clear our intentions as a top eight team.”

In the opening match, the nation woke up to an outstanding victory, epitomised by a skilful offloading game that saw captain Colin Gregor run in two tries and experienced centre John Houston add the third. Gregor converted all three.

The second match, proved a little more difficult and in the end Wales were fair winners, with a series of basic errors costing the Scots dear. Gregor added to his tally with a further two tries and two conversions. Edinburgh Rugby winger Lee Jones also touched down.

Finally, against Spain there was all to play for, and the Scots’ opponents did not make it easy. Scotland went in ahead at half-time, 7-0, with a converted try courtesy of Jones, but then in the second period Spain responded with two converted tries touched down by Angel Lopez and Jaike Carter.

Mark Robertson then burled out of contact and trusted his pace to claim the equalising score courtesy of Gregor’s conversion.

Then flying winger, Turnbull, took his chance at just the right time, having taken the field three minutes earlier, by scoring his 128th World Series try with a lovely step and injection of pace.

Gemmell continued: “We played outstandingly well against Australia playing some great rugby and showing real character. Wales punished us heavily for basic errors and we were nervy against Spain.

“However, we were down with two minutes to go and the boys delivered. So they deserved the credit.

“Tomorrow against Fiji, we have to control the elements that are in our grasp. We did that for long periods today and it has paid off, but we still have to work towards being more consistent and keep working hard to become more and more difficult to breakdown.

“We came here to get out the pool and we’ve done that, we’ve taken a step forward from finishing 11th on the Gold Coast and we’ve beaten the team that finished second over there and they’ve been knocked out of the pool.

“We have to take heart from that and give our best shot in the Cup competition.”

Dubai 7s day one

Scotland 21-17 Australia

Tries: Colin Gregor (2) and John Houston
Conversions: Colin Gregor (3)
Starting team: Scott Riddell, Alex Glashan, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, John Houston, Chris Dean and Lee Jones.
Replacements: Michael Maltman, James Johnstone (both 12mins), Gregor Young, Andrew Turnbull and Jack Ferguson (not used).

Scotland 19-31 Wales
Tries: Colin Gregor (2) and Lee Jones
Conversions: Colin Gregor (2)
Starting team: Scott Riddell, Michael Maltman, Alex Glashan, Colin Gregor, John Houston, Chris Dean and Lee Jones
Replacements: Mark Robertson (8mins), James Johnstone (11mins), Andrew Turnbull, Gregor Young (both 12mins) and Jack Ferguson (14mins).

Scotland 21-14 Spain
Tries: Lee Jones, Mark Robertson and Andrew Turnbull
Conversions: Colin Gregor (3)
Starting team: Scott Riddell, Alex Glashan, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, John Houston, Chris Dean and Lee Jones.
Replacements: Michael Maltman, Andrew Turnbull (both 12mins), Gregor Young, James Johnstone and Jack Ferguson (not used).