Scotland 7s make history with London 7s Cup win

Scotland 7s lifting the London 7s Cup

Scotland 7s made history in lifting their first ever World Series event Cup today at Twickenham.

The team’s previous highest tournament finish of fourth was trumped as Scotland progressed to, and won, the final at Twickenham, beating South Africa 27-26 in the last game of the tournament and this year’s Series.

 In a truly epic finale, Scotland clinched victory in terrific fashion, as Dougie Fife, named as Player of the Final, crossed the line twice in the last 30 seconds to see his side overcome an 11 point deficit (26-15) to claim the spoils with a 27-26 win.

Head Coach Calum MacRae said: “I’m absolutely delighted for the boys!

“We’ve had a bit of a tough year in terms of just missing out on the Cup stages, but, certainly, the back end of the year, the boys have stuck to task, been competitive, and, ultimately, backed our game and showed a huge amount of belief to get over the line.   

“It’s testament to the guys in the programme. There’s a number of boys who’ve been there for a couple of years incuding the likes of Scott Riddell – it’s a great way for him to celebrate his 50th cap, a man who has given huge effort throughout and given a huge amount to Scotland 7s over the past few years.

“I’m very proud of the players. They’ve put absolutely everything into it and they’re a pleasure to work with week-to-week.

“They’re a real honest bunch, and it’s great that they’ve got their reward today.”

Route to the final…

Scotland kicked off day two with an emphatic victory over hosts, England, in the Cup quarter-finals.

Damien Hoyland, who was later named as DHL Impact Player of the Tournament, was the sole scorer in the first-half a second-minute try, to which Scott Wight failed to convert. 

Both teams continued to do battle in an end-to-end second-half, but Scotland again got the better of their opponents as James Fleming raced over the line after 10 minutes, closely followed by Mark Robertson to close the game out at 17-0 and secure a spot in the semi-final stages. 

After their 42-14 annihilation of New Zealand, USA joined Scotland in the second semi-final of the day.

In a tit-for-tat affair, Scotland opened the scoring through Hoyland, with Wight adding the extras, yet the lead was short-lived as Danny Barrett dotted down for the opposition before his team-mate Zack Test followed with a try of his own.

Both conversions were missed by captain Madison Hughes, yet his side held a 10-7 lead at the break.

The task proved more difficult for Scotland when Thretton Palamo dotted down after eight minutes for USA’s third unanswered score, with Hughes adding the extras to open up a ten point gap (7-17).

Scotland, showing the heart and determination they had throughout the Series, battled back with Glenn Bryce showing his silky footwork to sidle through a passive USA defence and score to throw the momentum in his side’s favour. Wight’s conversion closed the deficit to three points (14-17). 

Buoyed by Bryce’s effort, Dougie Fife, who displayed his finishing quality throughout the tournament, fired home two quick scores to not only leapfrog USA, but to put them out of sight and make history in putting Scotland through to their first ever Cup final (24-17).

Fairytale ending...

South Africa, who Scotland had only ever beaten on home turf, lined up as Scotland’s opponents in the final after seeing of Series champions, Fiji, in their semi-final.

It was the Blitzbokke who scored first in the final as Seabelo Senatla, demonstrated his searing pace to cross the line, with veteran Cecil Afrika adding the extras. 

However, Scotland replied almost immediately through a Jamie Farndale score (5-7), before taking the lead with a truly remarkable move, almost unheard of in the game of sevens– a driving maul – in which Scott Wight was the beneficiary.

The captain was unable to add the extras, yet his side 10-7 maintained their lead as the hooter sounded for half –time. 

South Africa, an astute and classy outfit, came out of their half-time huddle firing and their persistence soon paid off as they score two quick-fire tires from Specman and Afrika, the latter an interception, and both of which were converted, to open up an 11-point gap (21-10) with three minutes left on the clock.

James Fleming personified his side’s undiminished hope and true heart when he displayed immense speed and strength to battle over the line and give Scotland a life-line as the hooter approached.

Specman’s retort, with less than two minutes left to play, gave Scotland an even tougher task as he reopened the 11-point deficit in giving his side a 26-15 lead with the try. 

Building for an epic finale to a truly wonderful and closely contested final, Fife, like he had in the previous game, charge over the line with less than a minute on the clock, with Wight’s conversion narrowing South Africa’s lead to four points (26-22) and giving his side all to play for. 

And seize the moment they did as, from the kick-off, Scotland regained possession and chipped away at the South African defence, before Dougie Fife came back against the grain to puncture the opposition defence and dot down to give his side a historic Cup final win after the hooter had sounded (27-26).