Scots beat Ireland to clinch 11th place in Hamilton
Scotland ended the Hamilton leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series by beating Ireland to secure an 11th-place finish in New Zealand.
Ciaran Beattie’s charges lost to the hosts and USA but defeated Wales in their Pool A fixtures to set up a meeting with the Irish, who they came from behind against to record a first victory over the men in green in a thrilling encounter.
With Harvey Elms and Femi Sofolarin ruled out with minor knocks, Nyle Godsmark came into the squad for the play-off match as the Scots recorded an impressive victory to end a gruelling two days of high-octane competition.
In a see-saw battle, Scotland came from behind twice to show real spirit. After losing an early try, Dougie Fife went over in the corner and Max McFarland raced clear to ensure a 12-12 parity at the interval.
In the second half, Ireland again took the lead through Jordan Conroy only for Scotland to rally once more, Gavin Lowe cutting a beautiful line to take a pass from Robbie Fergusson and tie the scores at 19 apiece.
Scotland saved the best for last, Lowe delivering a sumptuous cross-field kick that Alec Coombes caught on the run to canter home in what would be the game’s final scoring play.
Ireland came again but a tiring, yet relentless, Scottish defence held out to end the competition on a real high.
Head Coach Beattie praised his squad for sticking to the task in hand. He said: “We didn't get the result we wanted at the start against the USA [in the first fixture] despite a gutsy performance. However, digging deep against Wales and Ireland, who we have beaten for the first time, gives us a nice take away from Hamilton.
“There are some individual things to work on but if we show the same tenacity, it should make for a good weekend in Sydney [next weekend, 1/2 February].”
Scotland will find out their pool for the Australian leg of this trans-Tasman double-header tomorrow.