Wellington 7s: Day one round-up

Scotland 7s finished third in Pool A in the Wellington leg of the World Rugby HSBE Series, after recording a victory against Russia, but falling to defeats to South Africa and hosts New Zealand.

The squad will now face Portugal in the Bowl quarter-final in the opening match of day two at Wellington 7s (kick-off Saturday 10pm GMT). 

Scotland captain Scott Wight said: “We had a difficult group, but we’ve now got to look forward to day two, and be really positive. 

“We’ve worked really hard in between the tournaments, and we came up short in the first two [games], but won the last game and now we can hopefully build on that for tomorrow. 

“Against South Africa and New Zealand, when we had possession of the ball, it was unforced errors that were killing us, and it allowed the teams to get back in the game and score off the back of it. 

“Tomorrow, we’ve just got to keep a hold of the ball. When you’ve got ball you score tries, and at the end of the day, when you’ve got more points on the board you win games, so the massive focus for us going forward is cutting out the unforced errors.”

Scotland 5 v 28 South Africa

Scotland’s first task was against South Africa, who currently find themselves joint top of the World Series rankings after two rounds. 

With the majority of possession, the Blitzbokke managed to break down the resilient Scotland defence to score two tries from Geduld and Senatla in the opening period– the former adding the extras to his own score. 

The South Africans built on their first-half momentum to score a further two tries in the opening minutes following the interval, stretching the gap to 28-0. 

The Scots managed to get themselves on the scoreboard after the hooter, with debutant Junior Bulumakau displaying his sevens prowess to beat the defence and score a well-worked try.  

Scotland 5 v 27 New Zealand 

Similar to Scotland’s first game, a lack of possession hindered the chance of any real scoring opportunities against hosts New Zealand, in the first half.

The home side went two tries up after six minutes with Baker and Iaone credited with the scores(10-0).

It looked as though Scotland had pulled one back on the cusp of half-time when Scott Wight created a gap to which Hugh Blake took advantage, yet the final pass was deemed forward by the referee.

The All Blacks opened the second half with a bang, and scored two tries in quick succession through Webber and Dickson, before adding another in the 13th minute through Savea. Webber managed to add the extras to one of the scores to give the hosts a 27-0 lead as the game approached its close.

However, in an almost deja-vu like scenario to the opening game, Bulumakau was again the beneficiary of Gavin Lowe’s work, to claim Scotland’s only try of the game as the hooter sounded. Lowe added the extras to close the scoring.

Scotland 19 v 17 Russia

Scotland maintained their 100% record against newly-promoted Russia in this year’s Series, with another pool stage win. 

A Wight conversion proved the divisive and decisive factor in determining who would finish third in Pool A, as his side warded off a late comeback to seal the victory.

Lowe opened the scoring after exhibiting his trademark quick-feet to open up the Russian defence and cross the line, yet Russia quickly replied with a score of their own from Lazarenko. 

Wight’s conversion to Lowe’s try ensured Scotland had a two-point lead, but it only took the Russians a further two minutes before they found themselves in-front through a Ostroushko score.

However, Lowe secured his brace on the stroke of half-time, to give Scotland a 12-10 lead as the teams broke for the interval.

Russia went down to six men for two minutes as Davydov was shown a yellow card for cynical play around the contact, and Lowe took advantage of the space this created as he paced over to secure his hat-trick. Wight successfully the extras to bridge the gap to nine points in favour of Calum MacRae’s men (19-10). 

 A late try from Russia’s Ostoushko proved too little too late, as the missed conversion marked the end to the game and meant Scotland finished with their first victory of the day. 

Stats

Scotland 5 v 28 South Africa

Tries: Bulumakau 

Scotland 7 v 27 New Zealand 

Tries: Lowe
Conversion: Lowe

Scotland 19 v 17 Russia 

Tries: Lowe (3)

Conversions:Wight (2)