Three new caps named in Scotland 7s squad for Series opener

Scotland 7s Head Coach Calum MacRae has named three new caps in his 12-man squad to compete in the opening leg of the 2015-16 World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series, in Dubai (Friday 4 – Saturday 5 December). 

Magnus Bradbury is named in the travelling squad

The squad, which will travel to South Africa for the second leg of the Series following proceedings in Dubai, will include Edinburgh Rugby’s Magnus Bradbury; his capital club-mate Nick McLennan; and Scotland under-20 wing Robbie Nairn.

MacRae said: “The extended sevens off season, due to the Rugby World Cup, has afforded us time to develop aspects of our play and make gains in our strength and conditioning.  The players application has been excellent throughout.  

“The mindset has been to improve and build on last years performances, not rest on them.  In addition to the core squad members, we have also targeted developing young, Scottish talent who have a lot of potential and a big future ahead in both the abbreviated game and in the 15-a-side set-up.

“The exposure they will have to the international stage, will hopefully provide the platform they need to continue their development and progression in the game, as it has with so many players previously.”

Scott Wight will skipper the squad and will be flanked by the experience of Mark Robertson, Scott Riddell and Josea Nayacavou.

Glasgow Warriors’ Lee Jones, who competed in last year’s Commonwealth Games, comes into the group alongside his west-coast club-mate Hugh Blake.

James Johnstone, Jamie Farndale and Gavin Lowe – all who form part of the core group of Scotland 7s players – take up the remaining berths.

Scotland 7s achieved their highest ever finish of seventh in last season’s Series, and finished sixth overall in the in Dubai leg, after reaching the second-tier Plate final.

 In pool proceedings in Dubai Scotland will face last year’s tournament winners South Africa; Pacific islanders Samoa; and Russia, who have gained core-team status for this season’s Series.

“This is going to be a very challenging and physical pool, against three quality teams, but one we believe we have the ability to progress from with accurate performances,” MacRae continued 

“Russia will be on a high after their qualification to the Series full-time and Samoa will bring a fresh dimension under new coach Damian McGrath. South Africa, as always, have real fire-power across their side and will be bolstered by Neil Powell’s [Head Coach] recruitment of full internationals. We understand what it’s going to take to compete with these sides. 

“The level of competition in training has been raised with the new faces coming in.  We’ve shown we can compete with the best teams in the Series when we nail our basics, back ourselves and play with total commitment.”

Scotland 7s squad to compete in the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series, in Dubai on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 December:

Hugh Blake (Glasgow Warriors), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby), Jamie Farndale, James Johnstone, Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors), Gavin Lowe, Nick McLennan (Edinburgh Rugby), Robbie Nairn (Harlequins), Joseva Nayacavou, Scott Riddell, Mark Robertson and Scott Wight (captain).