Sevens try-machine hangs up boots

Scotland’s all time top try-scorer, Andrew Turnbull, has retired from professional rugby, after more than a decade of playing on the HSBC Sevens World Series, 

The winger, 33, scored 151 tries and one conversion – against Argentina on the Gold Coast in 2013 – in 57 World Series events, from 2004 to 2014, as well as playing in three Rugby World Cup 7s (Hong Kong 2005, Dubai 2009, Moscow 2013) and two Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010).

Andrew Turnbull receives a commemorative jersey from Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw, for winning 50 HSBC Sevens World Series caps

In the XV-a-side game Turnbull had stints with the Border Reivers, Edinburgh Rugby and Rotherham, and in 2008/09, he won three caps for Scotland A.

He is now pursuing a career in PE teaching at St Leonards School in St Andrews.

He said: “I enjoyed every single World Series tournament I played in. 

“It’s such a good tour to be a part of, playing in front of big crowds and against quality players. It has been an honour. 

“I loved sevens because I had plenty of space to use my pace and footwork and I’ve been lucky enough to play with guys who have gone on to represent Scotland in XVs, which shows the value of sevens and how it can highlight skills and develop individuals games.

I will never forget my first tournament in Hong Kong. I was 21 at the time and I had played in front of maximum 2000 people at the Borders. Then, to run out to 48,000 people going absolutely mental that first night, was unbelievable. I just wanted to play more and more. 

“I always wanted to be a professional rugby player and I set out my stall when I was at school. I’ve been lucky enough to go on and play with some great groups of guys and I have fond memories at Edinburgh, the Borders and Rotherham. 

“For now I’ll take a break from rugby, but who knows, maybe I’ll return for a social run out at some point.” 

Stephen Gemmell, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Academy and Performance Programmes, who coached Turnbull, during his two terms as Scotland 7s Head Coach, said: “Andrew has been a pleasure to coach and is recognised worldwide as a critical member of Scotland 7s in the past decade. 

“His try-scoring record speaks for itself and he is someone who has always excelled in the short side of the game. He has achieved much during his career, including being the top try-scorer at the 2009 Rugby World Cup 7s, which is no mean feat.

“Not many Scots can lay claim to records like that.”

Highlights of Scotland 7s' win against Fiji at BT Murrayfield, at the 2010 Emirates Airline Edinburgh 7s Festival. Turnbull scored the final try in the match: