Sevens up for Shiel and Vassie

Scottish Rugby is delighted to announce that Graham Shiel and Elaine Vassie have been appointed to the respective posts of Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Scotland Women 7s squad.

Capped 18 times for Scotland at centre, Shiel is currently Stage 2 Skills Coach with the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy, having previously held posts as Scotland 7s Head Coach, Scotland 7s Skills Coach/Analyst, National Academy Manager and Rugby Development Officer with East Lothian and West Lothian Councils. Graham Shiel

Speaking of taking on the post he said: “I’ve had a number of roles throughout the game in Scotland but coaching women’s sevens is a new challenge and one I’m really looking forward to.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with the national men’s sevens programme for five years, competing in the World Series, and this has provided me with a huge amount of experience.

“Through my work in the Academy system, and watching the team perform during the recent 6 Nations, I know a number of the players and I am looking forward to a new challenge of progressing the national women’s sevens squad.”

The season for the abbreviated game squad begins this month and continues throughout May and June, culminating in Rugby Europe tournaments in the Czech Republic and Hungary. Shiel outlined his focus over the next few weeks.

“It’ll be a combination of skills-based sessions, building on the work Shade Munro and the national fifteens coaching team have delivered, with sevens-specific skills that we’ll need to develop in the lead-up to the tournaments.

“There will be a mixture of one-day camps and weekend camps along with two preparation tournaments.

“As a coaching team and squad, we’ll have to be well organised because of the limited time we have available. However part of the challenge is to ensure the players are prepared accordingly and able to perform at the required level.”

Elaine Vassie

Taking on the role of Assistant Coach for the squad is Elaine Vassie. Hailing from Paisley, the former player has a breadth of coaching experience.

After three years in post, she moved to Italian side DAK Mantova, combining a role with the men’s fifteen side and the ladies’ sevens.

In October 2013 Vassie was then recruited by USA side Griffins Rugby, in Texas, as the club’s first full-time Director of Rugby.Working at the RFU in a community rugby and coach development role she progressed, in 2009, to National League 1 side Manchester Rugby.

Initially recruited as the side’s Assistant Coach, Vassie was soon promoted to Director of Rugby, at the age of 27, becoming the first female and youngest Director of Rugby at that level.

Recently returned to Scotland, she took on the role of team manager for Scotland Women, working with the squad throughout the recent 6 Nations, allowing her an insight into the game in Scotland.

Vassie said: “Having lately come back from the USA, where the sport is largely driven by its sevens influence, I’m really looking forward to working in the programme and with Graham.

By using sevens as a tool and focusing on its decision-making and skills set, we can further developing quality rugby players.”

Head of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby Sheila Begbie said: “It’s great for the women’s game that Graham and Elaine will be joining our coaching team.

“Both bring with them a wealth of rugby experience and a particular knowledge of the abbreviated game worldwide which will be invaluable as we work towards the European tournaments at the culmination of this year’s women’s sevens’ programme.

“I look forward to working with them and wish them all the best in their new posts.”

Scotland Women 7s 2016

May 27-29: Amsterdam 7s

June 3/4: London 7s

June 16-20: Rugby Europe 7s, Czech Republic

July 7-11: Rugby Europe 7s, Hungary

Written by
Isobel Irvine