Having finished 5th in Dubai and 4th in Cape Town, Scotland 7s went one better again in the third leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series, picking up a bronze medal in New Zealand.
The third place finish sees Scotland maintain their position of fourth on the overall World Series Table and will take a good amount of momentum into next weekend’s Sydney tournament.
They have been drawn top of Pool C along with New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Scotland began their Wellington campaign against Canada and fell behind to two early tries. On the occasion of his 50th tournament Mark Roberston pulled one back for Scotland before the Canadians crossed for a third.
After the break tries from Fraser Lyle and George Horne set up an exciting finish but it was the North American’s who took the spoils with a late try securing a 19-28 victory.
Scotland’s next opponents were Russia and again Calum MacRae’s side seemed to be struggling to find their best form and it took scores from Gavin Lowe and James Fleming to sneak the game 12-5.
Scotland kicked on with day one drawing to a close beating Wales 31-7 to secure their passage through to the Cup Quarter-Finals with tries coming from Lowe 2, Robertson, Fleming and Glenn Bryce.
Finishing second in their pool set up a tie against England to start day two, Scotland having lost to the English in both Dubai and South Africa.
Scott Wight replaced the injured Nick McLennan in the Scotland squad ahead of the Quarter-Finals and he kicked two conversions as tries from Jamie Farndale and Lowe gave the Scots a 14-7 lead at half time.
The second half saw Scotland defend bravely as England tried desperately to turn the tide and a dramatic last ditch tackle from Fleming prevented a near certain try as England raced away.
England scored just as it looked as the second seven was going to end scoreless but it was too late to alter the result and Scotland progressed to the Semi-Finals winning 14-12.
Next up for the Scots were Olympic Champions Fiji and they burst out of the blocks scoring two first half tries through Horne and Robertson to lead 12-7 at the break.
Like the previous match Scotland defended their line gallantly for the second period but a try for the Pacific Islanders deep into injury time levelled the scores.
Extra time followed and it was Fiji who snuck the win, crossing with 21 minutes on the clock.
The result meant Scotland would face Canada in the bronze medal game looking to reverse the result from Day One two ensure a podium finish.
However again it was the Canadians who took an early lead but first half tries from Fleming and Horne meant Scotland snuck a 14-12 lead at half time.
Fleming got his second early in the second before Canada fought back with two tries to lead 21-22.
However, as the final whistle approached again it was Fleming who was Scotland’s hero, completing his hat trick to hand his side the victory and a third placed finish.
Speaking after the competition, Scotland 7s Head Coach Calum MacRae said: “This tournament was a big step forward for us as a team as we tested new combinations and challenged some of the younger guys to step up and take more ownership.
“After a stuffy start in the first two games, we took stock on a few areas that needed improving and from then on we started to grow game by game.
“Defensively some of our chase down try savers were top drawer and that’s when you see how much the guys want to win.
“Gavin Lowe was a real stand out, showing maturity to lead the team this week along with some world class tries through the two days of competition.
“It is important to acknowledge individual achievements at times within the team and we are all immensely proud of Mark Robertson hitting 50 caps.
“He has always had game breaking ability and is someone who loves playing for his country.
“One downside is the fact that we have picked up a number of injuries which are currently being assessed.”