Top 8 finish for Scotland 7s in Hamilton
Scotland emerged from a difficult group to compete in the Cup competition on day two of the Hamilton HSBC World Rugby 7s Series tournament.
Scotland’s disappointing finish in Sydney the weekend previous saw them drawn against hosts New Zealand, Argentina and France in Pool C at the sold-out Waikato Stadium.
After three games of contrasting fortunes, Scotland qualifies for the Cup competition the following day in the most dramatic fashion, guaranteeing them 10 points on the overall World Series standings.
Starting against Argentina, Scotland burst out of the blocks confidently and with flair. Glasgow Warriors winger Max McFarland and captain Scott Riddell scoring to put their side in a commanding 14-0 lead at half time.
However, starved of the ball in the second seven minutes and making uncharacteristic errors, Scotland allowed Argentina back into the game and a length of the field counter attack try in the last seconds of the game meant that the South Americans snatched at 19-14 victory.
Up next were New Zealand who were high on confidence having beaten France 52-7 in their opening fixture. A late Harvey Elms consolation score was all the Scots could manage against the hosts who took the game 24-5.
With France beating Argentina 28-14, Scotland knew they weren’t out of the running and needed a positive result against the French to stand any chance of making the top eight the following day.
A confident performance resulting in a brace of tries for McFarland and another one each for Riddell and Elms earned Scotland a 26-14 victory meaning that should New Zealand beat Argentina by more than three points John Dalziel’s men would qualify.
With the clock red Argentina were winning 12-10 and a dramatic New Zealand score in the corner needed to be converted sent the hosts through as group winners but needed to be converted if Scotland were to join them.
Webber’s attempt from the touchline seemed to take an age to reach the posts before eventually hitting the left upright and falling through, sending Scotland into the Cup Quarter Finals.
Drawn against South Africa, Scotland failed to get a foothold in the game and again errors and discipline cost them. The reigning Champions were dominant throughout and won 22-0.
Scotland were then drawn against Kenya in a battle for fifth place. Bursting into an early lead with tries from Jack Cuthbert and Riddell they were pinned back almost immediately in a frantic game conceding 33 unanswered points.
McFarland would have the final say with a smart finish in the corner, but Scotland finished up in New Zealand with a 33-19 defeat to the Africans.
Scotland 7s Head Coach John Dalziel said: “We’re really happy to be competing in the Cup competition after the efforts of the last two weekends.
“There were some great performances in the pool stages both here and in Sydney and we will take lots of learning from it.
“We are putting some great pieces of rugby together and learning lessons on how to control games and see tight games out.
“I’m really pleased with the performances which are improvements on Dubai and Cape Town. We need to become more composed in certain situations but that will come with experience.
“We will keep building the base and earn the right to be a top eight team. You can’t fault the players’ effort and commitment.”