Lowe risk, high reward as Gavin cherishes Sevens return

Lowe risk, high reward as Gavin cherishes Sevens return

The HSBC World Sevens Series turns to Seville this weekend (January 28 - 30) for the second part of the circuit’s 2022 Andalusian adventure.

Last weekend saw Scotland 7s compete on the world stage for the first time since March 2020 due to coronavirus repercussions, with six players making their debut in the international abbreviated game.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, Gavin Lowe embarked on a 41st such event, obliging with the necessary points to become the third-highest points scorer for his country on the HSBC World Sevens Series.

Scotland impressed in spurts, putting in an excellent first half display against the all-conquering South Africans and in their tie with England, only to miss out come full-time, causing some disappointment within the ranks.

“It was unbelievable to be back on the pitch again,” said Lowe. “As a squad we felt that we maybe missed an opportunity in Malaga but we’re keen to go and show what we’re capable of in Seville. There’s loads of potential in the group going forward, the new caps got a feel last weekend about the World Series and we showed in glimpses what we can bring.

“That first half against South Africa was exactly how we wanted to play. We stuck to our game plan and showed our DNA as a squad, managing to keep the best team in the world away from the ball. We didn’t quite show our best after that but with England finishing second in Malaga, we feel there was a massive opportunity missed.

“In our game with them, we felt we had control but in sevens things can flip in a second and a system error can see the opposition go the length of the pitch, which is what happened there. It could have been us going through to the quarter-finals and we weren’t far away.”

Taking flight: Gavin gathers a restart in Scotland's tie with South Africa on Friday 21 January 2022. Credit: World Rugby

Scotland now make the short trip to Seville and the Estadio Olimpico de la Cartuja, where they are drawn in Pool D alongside Australia, Canada and Kenya, the latter of whom they defeated 17-12 last Saturday afternoon to reach the 9th-place semi-finals before losing out to hosts Spain.

Lowe said: “We back ourselves as a squad against anyone and have the potential to do special things. Australia and Canada got through their pools in Malaga and of course there’s no such thing as an easy game on this circuit, but we feel we have the ability to compete.”

The aforementioned personal milestone, which saw Lowe move behind such luminaries as Colin Gregor and Andrew Turnbull on the all-time Scotland 7s points list, is something the 26-year-old attributes to his colleagues over the years, adding: I’m incredibly proud to become the third-top points scorer for Scotland 7s - hopefully there are a few more to come! But I’m a team player first and it’s because of having great teammates through the years, putting me in a position to score those points.”

The past couple of years have been tricky for much of the Scotland 7s squad and of course society as a whole, with Lowe very grateful to see a return to the international programme: “For me I really needed to do it [play again]. Through the whole Covid situation I was just grafting away with this in sight, wondering when the time might come that we could get back out on the series.

“I went through a period of injury during the past couple of years but worked so hard to get in a position to play now. It was incredibly hard, there were some dark times but there was always light at the end of the tunnel that we would return one day.”

And further cheer will come for Lowe, who is expecting a new arrival: “I can’t wait for my partner to give birth at the end of March. It’s something really special that I’m looking forward to and hopefully it’s part of a great year for me and my family.”

With the Commonwealth Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens on the horizon as well, here’s to Gavin’s most memorable year yet.

HSBC World Sevens Series, Estadio Olimpico de la Cartuja, Seville, January 28-30 2022

Scotland 7s Pool D fixtures (all times GMT):

Friday 28 January: Canada 7s v Scotland 7s, 1.27pm

Saturday 29 January: Australia 7s v Scotland 7s, 8.07am

Saturday 29 January: Scotland 7s v Kenya 7s, 1.13pm

Remaining fixtures on both Saturday and Sunday dependant on Pool results.

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