Scotland show character to defend Hong Kong 7s Bowl trophy

Scotland 7s have received a major boost ahead of their home tournament, the Emirates Airline Rugby 7s, in just over a month's time (Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 May), by winning the Hong Kong Bowl trophy for a second consecutive year today.

James Johnstone scored a brace v France in the Hong Kong Bowl finalThe Scots left the disappointment of the pool stages behind them and put in three convincing wins against Japan (28-7), Wales (34-0) and France (26-5).

The team showed great character on day three of the 40th Hong Kong 7s, the sixth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, and notched up 14 tries, with James Johnstone putting in an impressive shift in the centre. He scored four tries across the three games. 

Also Fraser Lyle impressed in the forwards on his first outing in a Scotland rugby jersey. He marked the occasion with tries against New Zealand and Wales.

Winning the Bowl competition means the Scots will retain eighth place in the HSBC Sevens World Series standings going into Tokyo 7s next weekend (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April).

In Tokyo, Scotland 7s will compete in Pool B, with the same opposition as this weekend: New Zealand, Australia and Portugal.

Head Coach Calum Macrae said: “It’s very pleasing, after the disappointment of first two games, to come back and leave with silverware.

It’s good to get to a final and win and I must say the Scottish support and positive energy in the crowd has really spurred the team on this weekend.

“The players showed character to pick themselves back up after losing to New Zealand and Australia.

“Against Portugal we dug deep to win. But for me the match against Wales was the most pleasing because we played our game for the full 14 minutes.

“To nil any team, let alone a side of Wales’ calibre shows the level of concentration and the ability to stick to the task in hand that this group of players has.

“Their attitude has been great, our discipline good, which in turn has helped us to create opportunities to score. We had a real clinical edge today.

“ I think having had a few weeks off, it took us a couple of games to get up to speed. Now we have a tournament under our belts and some good back to back performances, I’ll encourage the players to keep building on that.

“Finally, Fraser [Lyle] showed a huge amount of maturity for his first tournament. I’m really pleased he has been given an opportunity in the Scotland shirt and he has stepped up to the mark.”

Scotland 7s Captain Scott Riddell said: “We looked after the ball better today and were smarter at the breakdown.

“Going forward we need to be more consistent and like today keep bringing our form game after game.

I’m really proud of the boys and the crowd were also great, giving us a wee lift too.”

Scotland looked more settled against Japan on day three, than they had in the group stages.

The side retained possession well and were patient in their passing game, scoring four well-worked tries, and recording a 28-7 victory that saw them move into the Bowl semi-finals against Wales.

First, James Johnstone and Scott Riddell touched down before the break to establish a 14-7 lead, with Kazuhiro Goya scoring Japan’s point.

Then, in the second half Mark Robertson and Chris Dean scored tries that put the Scots out of sight. Both ran in from 50 plus metres. Colin Gregor converted all four tries.

Then against Wales, Scotland had shifted into a different gear altogether. Things clicked, they dominated possession and the basics were executed well.

Their passing game was also effective and they were able to release their wide runners, who contributed to the 34-0 victory.

There was some powerful running from Lee Jones that saw the Borderer score a brace; James Johnstone’s step was firing once again and he ran in a try of his own, as well as setting Fraser Lyle up for his second of the weekend.

Also Robertson and Dean played some clever moves that saw them cross the whitewash. Gregor converted two of the six tries.  

In the final the Scots continued playing to form and a further four tries ensued in this match, with Gregor and Johnstone both scoring braces.

Within the first few minutes Scotland showed the importance of their passing game, having won the kick-off, completed 29 passes, which in turn led to Johnstone’s opening try, all before France had even touched the ball.

Virimi Vakatawa scored immediately after the first try though bringing France back within two points and this is how the score remained, 7-5, going into the break.

Scotland, though under pressure by a quick French defence, remained composed and all three tries were built well, moving the ball wide, so the gaps could be exposed back inside.

Scotland 7s will return to the Emirates Airline Rugby 7s at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, in just over a months time (Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 May) for the penultimate leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. Tickets are available for the Emirates Airline Rugby 7s now, visit www.glasgow7s.com to book.

 

Hong Kong 7s knockout stages 

Scotland 28-7 Japan (Bowl quarter-final)

  • Tries: James Johnstone, Scott Riddell, Mark Robertson and Chris Dean
  • Conversions: Colin Gregor (4)
  • Starting team: Scott Riddell CAPTAIN, Fraser Lyle, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, Russell Weir and Lee Jones.
  • Replacements: Chris Dean (8mins), Damien Hoyland, Nyle Godsmark, Joseva Nayacavou (all 9mins) and James Fleming (12mins). 

Scotland 34-0 Wales (Bowl semi-final)

  • Tries: James Johnstone, Fraser Lyle, Lee Jones (2), Mark Robertson and Chris Dean
  • Conversions: Colin Gregor (2)
  • Starting team: Scott Riddell CAPTAIN, Fraser Lyle, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, Russell Weir and Lee Jones.
  • Replacements: Chris Dean, Joseva Nayacavou (both 9mins), James Fleming, Nyle Godsmark (both 11mins) and Damien Hoyland (13mins). 

Scotland 26-5 France (Bowl final)

  • Tries: James Johnstone (2) and Colin Gregor (2)
  • Conversions: Colin Gregor (3)
  • Starting team: Scott Riddell CAPTAIN, Fraser Lyle, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, Russell Weir and Lee Jones.
  • Replacements: Nyle Godsmark, Joseva Nayacavou (both 11mins), James Fleming, Damien Hoyland and Chris Dean (not used).

 

Hong Kong 7s Pool B

Scotland 7-26 New Zealand

  • Try: Fraser Lyle
  • Conversion: Colin Gregor
  • Starting team: Scott Riddell CAPTAIN, Fraser Lyle, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, Damien Hoyland and Lee Jones.
  • Replacements: Joseva Nayacavou, Chris Dean (both 10mins), Nyle Godsmark (11mins), James Fleming (13mins) and Russell Weir (not used).

Scotland 5-21 Australia

  • Try: Russell Weir
  • Starting team: Scott Riddell CAPTAIN, Fraser Lyle, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, Damien Hoyland and Lee Jones.
  • Replacements: Joseva Nayacavou (9mins), Chris Dean (10mins), James Fleming, Russell Weir (both 11mins) and Nyle Godsmark (not used). 

Scotland 14-12 Portugal

  • Tries: Mark Robertson and Chris Dean
  • Conversions: Colin Gregor (2)
  • Starting team: Scott Riddell CAPTAIN, Fraser Lyle, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Mark Robertson, Russell Weir and Lee Jones.
  • Replacements: Chris Dean (9mins), Joseva Nayacavou (11mins), James Fleming (13mins), Nyle Godsmark and Damien Hoyland (not used).