Hong Kongs 7s: day three round-up

Scotland 7s bounced back from two defeats on the second day of competition at Hong Kong 7s to reach the Bowl final, where they were unable to overcome a strong Argentina side. 

Defeats of Portugal (5-0) and Samoa (19-14) put Scotland through to the third-tier final where they met Argentina, who ran out as 26-0 winners to lift the Bowl.

Scotland picked up seven Series points from the event, which moves them up into 10th place, equal on points with ninth place Samoa, with three rounds left on the sevens’ calendar. 

The team will now travel to Singapore for round eight of the Series, where they will face South Africa, Kenya and Russia in the pool stages.

 Head Coach Calum MacRae said: “We will review Hong Kong ahead of Singapore next week.

“Its about doing the basics well under pressure, that never changes, especially in this arena.  More consistency of these basics will be a focus for Singapore.

“Our biggest positive was our last ditch defence. The number of try savers the players put in shows the determination of this group. 

“We have moved up the rankings to joint ninth spot with the important win over Samoa, and we will look to add to the this weekend.

Hong-Kong 7s Bowl run

The opening game against Portugal was played out in torrential downpour, with both sides struggling to keep the ball in hand and break the deadlock. 

It took 12 minutes, two minutes before the close of the game, for Scotland to get on the scoreboard, with James Fleming showing his exceptional pace to slide over for the opening score of the game.

Fleming turned out to be the only scorer in the tie, but histry was enough to set-up Scotland with a Bowl semi-final against Samoa.

The semi-final match-up with Samoa proved an entirely different affair, with both sides opting to pay an expansive, attacking style of rugby.

Edinburgh Rugby’s Dougie Fife opened the scoring after just two minutes, using his footwork to break the defence and pace in for the score. Scott Wight’s conversion attempt fell wide of the posts.

Samoa retaliated in fine fashion and scored two tries in quick succession, both of which were converted to give the Pacific Islanders a 14-5 lead at the break. 

A well-worked team move from Calum MacRae’s side set up Fife for his second score of the day in the ninth minute, with Wight’s conversion closing the gap to just two points in favour of Samoa (12-14). 

After an intense couple of minutes, Mark Robertson showed confidence and determination in attack to split open the Samoan defence and go the length to touch down for the match winning score and secure Scotland a place in the Bowl final against Argentina.

Scotland faced a stern test in the South Americans, with the loss of Gav Lowe and Rory Hughes throughout the competition meaning MacRae only had 10 players capable of competing in the final match. 

The Argentines opened scoring proceedings after two minutes when Tuculet crossed the line, where he was closely followed on the by Estelles. The latter of the two tries was converted by Ezcurra to give his side a 12-0 lead at the break.

Despite some magnificent defence from the Scots, Argentina managed to break down the tiring men in blue, and scored a further two late tries from Estelles and Delguy.

 Revol’s successful conversions took the score to 26-0, which was how it would stay as the hooter sounded to mark the end of the game.

Macrae said: “With monsoon weather for the Portugal tie, game management was a challenge. The players created a few chances in the outside channels and James Fleming in the end finished the winner very well.

“We've had a few ding dong battles with Samoa this year and I thought we played with far more accuracy on attack this time up, letting the ball do the work.

“It was disappointing to lose Gavin Lowe in game one and Rory Hughes today with concussion. Over the course if the tournament it does make it tougher and guys do red line quicker, but we picked up the slack and got on with it. Other teams have also had this challenge over the course of the Series so we’re never completely impervious to it. 

“We didn't control the ball well enough against Argentina and I thought they deserved the win in the final today.”