Scotland 7s ready for Wellington challenge

Scotland 7s will be in action overnight tonight in the fifth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Wellington, New Zealand.

The side will meet Canada (midnight, Friday 7 February), Argentina (3.09am) and USA (5.56am) and preparations have gone well ahead of the tournament. All times are UK.

Head coach, Stephen Gemmell, said: “We had an extra week between the Las Vegas leg of the circuit and tonight’s matches, than usual, which has given us added time to recover from any jetlag, rest and prepare.

“We have made a couple of changes to the team, but the players who have come in are familiar with how we operate and they have fitted in well.

Wellington is always a fantastic tournament that the locals buy into, so we’re all looking forward to getting out there tonight.”

Also today in rugby sevens news, the International Rugby Board has announced that the Brazil men’s and women’s teams will automatically qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Rugby Sevens events.

In addition to this, under the qualification structure for the men’s competition, four nations will qualify from the 2014/15 Sevens World Series, one nation from each of the six IRB regional competitions, one from the world play-off and automatic qualification for Brazil.

With regard to the qualification process for Great Britain, if more than one team from England, Scotland and Wales qualify to participate as core teams in the 2014/15 IRB Men’s Sevens World Series, then by no later than 30 June 2014 the BOA must designate the lead team which solely will be able to obtain qualification for Great Britain to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Gemmell continued: “This is an exciting milestone today for the inclusion of rugby sevens in the Olympics and something as Scots we are proud of having invented the game.

It also further helps to focus our minds on the hard work that is required for the remainder of the season and the importance for us to reach our target of regularly competing in the top eight on the circuit.”

Scotland 7s squad to compete in the Wellington 7s (7-8 February): Scott Riddell, Finlay Gillies (Glasgow Warriors), Struan Dewar, Alex Glashan, Colin Gregor (captain), Mark Robertson, Darren Gillespie (Hornby Panthers' / Jed-Forest), Michael Maltman, Russell Weir, Andrew Turnbull, James Johnstone and Gregor Young.

Lindsey Gibson called-up

Elsewhere, some four changes have been made to the Scotland Club International side to play Ireland tomorrow night (7 February, kick-off 7.30pm) in Cork.

Prop Ewan McQuillin and hooker George Turner have returned to training with Edinburgh Rugby this week and are replaced by Ayr’s Nick Cox and Fergus Scott respectively, who are promoted from the bench.

Coming into the squad for the first time, in their places, will be Aberdeen Grammar and former Scotland under-20 prop, Struan Cessford and Hawick hooker, Lindsey Gibson.

Furthermore, Hawick’s Greg Cottrell will take the place of George Graham on the bench, while Gala’s Ewan Scott replaces teammate Grant Somerville on the subs list. These changes are due injury.

Scotland Club International team to play Ireland Club International at the Cork Constitution FC on Friday 7 February at 7.30pm: Nyle Godsmark (Edinburgh Accies); Erlend Oag (Aberdeen Grammar), Chris Auld (Gala / Edinburgh Rugby), Dean Kelbrick (Ayr), Craig Gossman (Ayr); Richard Mill (Melrose), Peter Jericevich (Ayr); George Hunter (Ayr / Glasgow Warriors), Fergus Scott (Ayr / Glasgow Warriors), Nick Cox (Ayr / Glasgow Warriors), Murray Douglas (Heriot’s), Callum Templeton (Ayr), Andrew Nagle (Melrose), Will Bordill (Stirling County / Glasgow Warriors) and Jamie Swanson (Stirling County).

Replacements: Lindsey Gibson (Hawick), Rory Sutherland (Gala), Struan Cessford (Aberdeen Grammar), Andrew Redmayne (Glasgow Hawks / Glasgow Warriors), Gary Graham (Gala), Greg Cottrell (Hawick), Stuart Edwards (Stirling County) and Ewan Scott (Gala).