PECQUEUR PURRING AFTER STRONG SEVENS START
After two rounds of the 2019/20 HSBC World Sevens Series, it would be fair to say that Sam Pecqueur is enjoying himself.
The 25-year-old crossed for a sensational nine tries across Dubai and then Cape Town, sitting second in the overall standings with only Ireland's Jordon Conroy  currently above him.
After a tricky opening weekend, Scotland reset and impressed in South Africa, taking the scalp of England in their Pool C opener.
That 26-24 success, during which Pecqueur scored his side’s third before Femi Sofolarin’s last-gasp winning try, ignited the Scots’ embryonic sevens campaign.
Explaining what it meant to earn that particular victory, the former Edinburgh Accies and Melrose player said: “It’s easy to get up for England. It doesn’t matter about past results or how you’ve done the week before, it’s the Auld Enemy and it’s the one that players are so desperate to win.
“We felt it was a group we could get out of with England, France and Spain all being teams we could beat. That helped when it came to the final pool match against Spain as we knew we had the ability to win that tie, although of course it was going to be tough.”
Scotland’s wins over England and then Spain also represented success for Head Coach Ciaran Beattie, for whom this campaign is his first as Head Coach.
Sam added: “It was great to win for Ciaran as much as anything else. You can see how much this role means to him and for us to get a first win under him, and against England – it was a pretty emotional post-match huddle!
“He’s so passionate about this job and everyone is on board with it. He’s a very easy guy to play for and we’re thriving as a group.”
Scotland went out to eventual tournament winners New Zealand at the quarter-final stage but impressed with their brand of attacking rugby.
Beattie has tried to implement a few tactical amendments to the way his side approach games, something that Sam thinks will pay dividends in the long term.
He said: “I think the main thing is that defensively we’re trying to be a bit more intense; aiming to get the ball back as soon as we can and show real structure. In terms of attack, we’re encouraged to try things and that freedom was shown in Dubai a little bit and then in Cape Town.
“There are little changes throughout the way we approach and play the game and hopefully the understanding we have as a group will just continue to strengthen as the season continues.”
Such understanding is born out of having a group of players who have come through the ranks within a short pace of time. Pecqueur played Scotland U20 with the likes of Jamie Farndale and Gavin Lowe in 2014, while fellow 2019/20 core members Ross McCann and Nyle Godsmark were former teammates of his at Melrose.
“A lot of us are a similar age and have come through age-grades and club level at the same time, so we already have a bond that helps us,” added Sam.
“We have a born leader in Robbie [Fergusson] and then having others like Tom Brown coming in this season, the balance of the squad is great.
"We feel very comfortable in each other’s company and that makes for a relaxing atmosphere which is important when you’re spending so much time together.”