Dubai 7s: Day two round-up

Scotland 7s finished runners-up in the Bowl competition at Dubai 7s, the first leg of the 2015/16 World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series. 

Magnus Bradbury

Following a third place finish in Pool B on day one, Scotland were seeded in the Bowl competition where they posted victories against Portugal (21-14) and Wales (17-14), before falling to defeat against France in the final (24-14).

Head Coach Calum MacRae was positive about his side’s start to the Series. He said: “This weekend is a starting point to work from. Just five of the squad had two caps between them before the tournament, and they will take a lot from the experience they've now gained.

“We achieved a higher placing than our first tournament last series in the Gold Coast and it’s now about adapting and improving for next week’s tournament in Capetown.

“We showed good resolve to come back at teams and get wins but we need to start well in games. We are physically fit but still to reach complete match fitness and that will kick in now we are into the Series.

“The main positives from the weekend are at times we dictated and controlled the tempo of the games and scored some excellent tries.

The young players who debuted showed the talent they have can turn into strong individual performances when it’s married with hard work.” 

Farndale’s late winner secures semi-final spot

In a déjà vu like manner to the opening day’s defeat of Russia, Scotland’s victory over Portugal wasn’t secure until the last play of the game when Jamie Farndale stormed over for the score.

James Johnstone was first on the scoresheet with a try – converted by Scott Wight – before Portugal replied through Belo, with Lelo’s conversion making it all square at half-time (7-7).

Gavin Lowe displayed great vision in the tenth minute to sell the dummy and sail through the Portuguese defence to put Scotland in front, yet the opposition again responded through Antunes, with Leal’s conversion tying the scores with less than a minute left on the clock. 

A common theme to Scotland’s campaign has been composure in the final minutes, and again their ability to win in the last play resurfaced when Farndale seared through the opposition defence to touchdown. Scott Wight converted and closed the game at 21-14 in favour of the Scots, seeing them through to face Wales in the Bowl semi-final.

Nairn’s debut try bags spot in Bowl final

Robbie Nairn’s first try in a Scotland 7s shirt couldn’t have proved more vital, as the 18-year-old wing cruised over following the hooter to book Scotland’s place in the Bowl final, with a 17-14 win over Wales. 

Wales looked the more assertive of the sides in the opening exchanges, and a Luke Traherne try in the third minute meant Scotland were immediately on the back-foot.

However, the experienced Mark Robertson took control of the situation and crossed for his fourth try in Dubai, to close the gap to just two points (5-7) at the interval; the successful conversion to Traherne’s try proving the difference.

Following the break, Farndale got the scoreboard ticking over once more as he scored his second of the day in the 10th minute. Wight’s conversion gave Scotland a 10-7 lead.

Wales were quick to reply and regain the lead as Lloyd Evans scampered over the whitewash for the try. O’Brien’s successful conversion opened up a four point gap in favour of the Welsh, which looked as though it would be enough to secure their spot in the Bowl final.

However, yet again, Scotland’s desire and composure shone through, and youngster Robbie Nairn exhibited bags of power and pace to race over the line for an injury-time try to see his side face France in the climax of the Bowl. 

France fend off late comeback to lift Bowl

France proved too strong for Scotland in the Bowl final, managing to fight off a late comeback and secure a 24-14 victory to lift the third tier trophy.

Scotland controlled possession for much of the opening period yet the opposition made more use of their time on the ball and opened with three tries in quick succession from Candelon, Cler and Bourahoua. 

The latter converted two of the scores, and France held a commanding 19-0 lead at the break.

Candelon grabbed his second score in the ninth minute to open up a substantial 24-point lead for the French, one which seemed unlikely Scotland would be able to overturn.

Two late tries from Blake and Nairn gave Scotland a spring in their step as the game drew to a close, yet the comeback proved too late as France saw out the victory (24-14) to claim the Dubai 7s Bowl.

Scotland 7s will now travel to compete in Cape Town 7s  for the second leg of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series (Saturday 12 – Sunday 13 December). 

Scotland 21 v 14 Portugal

  • Tries: James Johnstone, Gavin Lowe and Jamie Farndale
  • Conversions: Scott Wight (3) 

Scotland 17 v 14 Wales

  • Tries: Mark Robertson, Jamie Farndale and Robbie Nairn
  • Conversions: Scott Wight 

Scotland 14 v 24 France

  • Tries: Hugh Blake and Robbie Nairn
  • Conversion: Scott Wight and Gavin Lowe