Dubai 7s: Day one round-up

Scotland 7s finished third in their pool in the opening leg of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series, Dubai 7s, and will now go on to face Portugal in the quarter-final of the Bowl competition, tomorrow (kick-off 6.36am GMT).

The Scots posted one win from three matches in the pool stages, with the sole victory coming against a tough Russian outfit in the opening match of tournament (17-14).

Following the promising start, however, Scotland were unable to maintain their momentum in the following ties and were defeated by Samoa (17-12) and reigning champions South Africa (26-12).

Scotland 7s Head Coach Calum MacRae handed debuts to Magnus Bradbury, Nick McLennan and Robbie Nairn, all of whom showed glimpses of what they have to offer to the abbreviated game this season and in the future.

Reflecting on the Scotland’s performance, MacRae said: “All players thrive off competition. We've had a few hit outs during the prep camp, but nothing replicates a Series tournament.

“The new caps fronted up really well, its a steep learning curve out there for young developing players, but one they will take great experience from.

“We scored some good tries today when we controlled possession of the ball. At times our inaccuracy at the restarts didn't allow us gain enough possession to dictate the ties. 

“We showed real desire to win at the death in the Russia game which was pleasing and the players put the disappointing performance of the Samoa game behind them and fronted up in against SA.

“We will look at specifics we need to improve on tonight and focus on the Portugal tie tomorrow morning.” 

Blake late score secures win in opener

A last gasp try from Hugh Blake was enough to secure a win 17-14 win for Scotland 7s in their opening tie of proceedings in Pool B, against Russia.

Mark Robertson scored Scotland’s only points of the first-half in reply to Ostroushko try in the opening minute of play. Roshchin’s conversion following Russia’s opening score proved the dividing factor as the opposition went into the interval with a 7-5 lead.

Scotland looked to shake of their first half rustiness, with prolific finisher Lee Jones putting his side ahead after nine minutes. Scott Wight duly converted. 

Russia looked to have snatched the victory when they turned pressure into points, and Davydov crossed the whitewash with Roshchin adding the extras with less than a minute left on the clock.  

Yet, Scotland persevered and showed great composure to control their late possession and open space up for Hugh Blake to exploit and score. The replacement’s dramatic try in the last play was enough to see off the Bears and open Scotland’s World Rugby Series with a 17-14 win.

Late comeback not enough for Samoan scalp

Scotland were unable to recover from an early surge of tries from Samoa in the second tie of Pool B, going down 17-12.

It took the Samoans less than a minute to cross the line through Tuatagaloa, before his team-mate Asofolau followed up shortly after to put their side 12-0 in-front early on in the tie.

Magnus Bradbury, who impressed in his first outing, and Lee Jones, both came within touching distance of a first-half score yet were denied by resilient, last-ditch defence.

A third score for the opposition opened up a 17-point gap, yet the Scots were not deterred and replied through a well-worked Joe Nayacavou try.

Mark Robertson weaved in and out of the defence using magnificent footwork, and raced under the posts to score a second, yet the hooter sounded and the game was drawn to a close, killing Scotland’s gathering momentum in the process.

Reigning champions prove too strong for hardy Scots

 Despite a promising first-half performance from Scotland, current tournament holders South Africa proved too strong in the second period, building on their two point lead at the interval to seal a 26-12 victory.

In a tit-for-tat affair, South Africa opened the scoring through the electric Senatla, yet Scott Riddell was quick to reply on behalf of the Dark Blues as he crossed the line in the corner. 

Senatla grabbed his second score in the sixth minute, and this time it was the turn of Mark Robertson to respond for Scotland and score his third try in as many games in Dubai. Captain Scott Wight casually slotted the extras to close the gap to two points in favour of the Blitzbokke at the break (14-12). 

South Africa proved more clinical in the second-half and opened their second-half account through Geduld after 10 minutes. 

Immediately after the score, the task of knocking the champions off their pedestal became more difficult as captain Scott Wight was shown a yellow-card for an alleged neck-roll at the contact. 

The Sprinkboks failed to score while Scotland were down to six men, yet the fatigue as a result proved costly as the opposition ran in a final score at the death to round-off their win and secure their position in the Cup quarter-finals.

Scotland 17 v 14 Russia

  • Tries: Mark Robertson, Lee Jones and Hugh Blake
  • Conversions: Scott Wight

Scotland 12 v 17 Samoa

  • Tries: Joe Nayacavou and Mark Robertson
  • Conversions: Scott Wight (2)

Scotland 12 v 26 South Africa

  • Tries: Scott Riddell and Mark Robertson
  • Conversions: Scott Wight