Coombes raring to go
The return of Scotland 7s to the HSBC World Sevens Series had been a long time coming when they competed in Malaga and Seville back in January. For Alec Coombes, that wait was extended on account of his recovery from a shoulder injury sustained at the Olympic Games last summer.
Coombes was part of the Team GB squad that competed in the delayed Games in Tokyo, living out the childhood dream of many, but his injury curtailed any involvement for Scotland in the months that followed.
On being an Olympian and all that goes with it, Coombes said: “The build-up towards it and the event itself was as exhilarating as you could imagine, I guess. It was a bit crazy, seeing people you’d been watching across other sports for years, seeing them close-up.
“My experience playing was slightly different, with it being cut short through injury. I dislocated my shoulder in turning over a ball against Japan and that kept me out for seven months in the end, having had surgery to repair it and the rehab that goes with it.
“So this weekend is one that I’m excited for, it’s been a long time grafting behind closed doors and I want to get back on the pitch to show that all the time spent to get to this position has been worth it.”
Although Scotland will be gearing up for some fascinating challenges ahead in 2022, including the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens, all eyes turn to Singapore this weekend.
In the here and now, the 26-year-old is priming himself for the immediate schedule, which pits Scotland in Pool C alongside Argentina, Wales and New Zealand on Saturday.
“Coming back in and having a good build-up to these events has been really interesting to see,” he added. “Some of the young guys have been phenomenal in training with their array of skills. I’ve played with the likes of Jake Henry and Harry Paterson before in and around Edinburgh but to see these boys show their pace and skills on a pitch is really cool and with them being so young it makes you wonder what they can bring in the future.
“Having had the past two months to understand what everyone brings to the squad has been key, whether that be pace, power, the ability to step – like, Reiss Cullen is something else!”
Heat and humidity are likely to be factors in Scotland’s quest in Singapore, but Coombes says that the squad are in a good place for such climes: “We had training on our first full day in Singapore and I think all the boys were feeling the heat but then from there, we felt a lot more at ease and maybe that extra day has helped with acclimatising to the conditions.
“It’s going to be a hugely challenging weekend, especially that first day [with all three Pool games]. Wales have a new team with a lot of young boys, Argentina have been together as a squad for a long time, through the Olympics as well, and they’ve been showing their talents for a while but that’s a game we really want to take to them.
“And everybody knows New Zealand and the reputation they bring with them, but we’re going all guns blazing into this weekend to try and show what we’ve got and carry on from Malaga and Seville to showcase what this young team has to offer.”
It’s been a long wait for this Scotland 7s Olympic star to return to action, but with the aforementioned Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens on the horizon, he is steeling himself for the opportunity to make even more lifetime memories, starting in Singapore this weekend.