Scots relishing Toulouse tussles
Scotland 7s are preparing to compete in Toulouse at the HSBC World Sevens Series this weekend (May 20-22), with a women’s squad playing for only the second time in the competition’s history.
In a year that will see Scott Forrest’s charges compete at their first Commonwealth Games at the end of July, this week’s co-captain, Helen Nelson, says the group are raring to go.
“We’re really excited having not played sevens since last July [in Rugby Europe events} and with it being pretty much the same backline as we had throughout the recent TikTok Six Nations, we’ve spent a lot of time together and gelled recently. There’s a real buzz around the camp to go and test ourselves against the best in the world.”
Scotland are drawn in Pool B of this weekend’s tournament alongside New Zealand, Canada and Spain, with games to take place over Friday, Saturday and Sunday – all streamed live on World Rugby’s YouTube channel.
A hectic few months, during which Scotland qualified for the Rugby World Cup under Bryan Easson, then played five Six Nations games in six weeks, continues this week in Toulouse – and Helen reckons the physical and mental approach will play a part: “On the body, I’ll let you know after this weekend!”
“In terms of the mind, it’s about keeping our game plan super simple, have a good set piece and doing the basics well. Then it’s about knowing where the space is and trusting our instincts – and have a bit of fun with it.
“Every session we’ve had you can see the improvements already so we’ll go out there and give it the best we can.”
With those Commonwealth Games on the horizon, Scotland’s Toulouse involvement will serve as excellent preparation for Birmingham, which will be a first of its kind for the country: “It’s so exciting, we missed out in 2018 at the Gold Coast so to qualify this time around has been a big goal for the group,” Helen, who will skipper alongside Lisa Thomson, explained.
“So it was nice to put that to bed last summer [qualifying through another Rugby Europe event, in Moscow last year]. It was a big achievement and gives us a real focus over the course of the summer to work on skills, and that will help also when it comes to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand later in the year.
“We want to leave a lasting impression and inspire the next generation, which is something we talk a lot about; that girls can aspire to play sevens for Scotland.”