www.scottishrugby.org has signed-up the services of Scotland 7s back James Johnstone, to provide a diary of his experiences as he prepares for and competes in his first Commonwealth Games.
Johnstone has cemented himself in the Scotland 7s squad on the HSBC Sevens World Series throughout the 2013-14 season. To date he has won 18 caps and scored 22 tries. The Dumfries-born player signed full-time with the abbreviated national team following a spell as an elite development player with Glasgow Warriors.
This week's entry sees Johnstone writing about Scotland 7s' first week in the Team Scotland training base in Stirling, in the build-up to the weekend’s warm-up tournament, Sevens and the City, in London, where Scotland came runners-up in the final.
"At the weekend, we met the rest of Team Scotland for an informative gathering about the Commonwealth Games. It proved to be a packed event in which we were provided with a huge amount of information, really highlighting the significance and sheer size of Glasgow 2014.
There were past athletes, from both previous Commonwealth and Olympic Games, there to give some advice and to share their experiences on how things worked for them. Sir Chris Hoy was among them which was pretty inspiring.
We moved base from Ravenscraig to Stirling on Monday to begin our preparation camp. The facilities have been excellent and, in turn, training this week is going well. It's important for us to be together a lot more and get to know each other better, something which the camp helps us to do.
The vibe in camp at the moment is positive and the boys seems confident which bodes well for a warm up tournament at the weekend in London. A 13 man squad will be going down to the 7s and the City event in London, something which we are all looking forward to.
Training this week has been focussed on looking at our key fundamental principles and how to incorporate them into game situations. The intensity and quality has been extremely encouraging. This weekend will also be important to give us a reference point and see what improvements need to be made to this particular squad before we head out of camp and into the athletes village at the end of next week. The tournament in London will also be useful for the team to work with different combinations and gives Stevie [Gemmel] a chance to look at what works best for us.
It has also been refreshing seeing other Team Scotland members from a range of different sports around the camp where we have been training. It’s good to chat to people from different sporting backgrounds and gain an insight into their training methods and how they approach their sport."