Scotland 7s report and reaction from Vegas
Good victories on day two of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Las Vegas gave Scotland a platform from which to work in Vancouver next weekend.Drawn in a tough pool against Australia, Fiji and Japan, Scotland improved on their Sydney showing, qualifying for the Challenge Trophy and making it to the semi-final stage.Attention now reverts to Canada where Scotland have been drawn in Pool D along with New Zealand, Canada and Russia.Day OneScotland's first day in the desert was a daunting one, with Australia and Olympic Gold medallists Fiji the opponents.However, against the Australians, Scotland took control and first half tries from Jamie Farndale and Joseva Nayacavou gave them a 14-7 lead at the break.Mark Robertson extended Scotland's lead early in the second period and despite another Australian score the Scots held a seven-point lead with a minute to play.Australia weren't done, scoring on the whistle to even things before collecting the restart to run the length and snatch the win.Up next were the Fijians and a first half Farndale try kept Scotland within touching distance of their opponents, 5-10 the score at the break.Farndale scored again to cancel out another try from Fiji and as Scotland pushed for the win they were punished, conceding a fourth and going down 12-24.Day Two With the competition spread over three days, Scotland's final group game came on the Saturday and they looked fresh and invigorated by the night's rest. Scott Wight scored two early tries against the Japanese and Farndale added a third before the break to give Scotland a 19-0 lead.Japan hit back after the break but the Scots showed no signs of resting on their laurels, keeping up the attacking and scoring late tries through Hugh Blake and James Fleming, 33-7 the final score.Victory meant the Scots finished third in Pool D, setting up a Challenge Trophy quarter-final against Wales.Farndale's impressive try scoring form continued, crossing for his fifth in five matches to give Scotland an early lead.Wales hit back and scored three unanswered tries before Dougie Fife got the Scots back in it making the score 14-21 at half time.Farndale made it six for the tournament to level things up before Fife's second of the day gifted Scotland the victory setting up at Trophy semi-final against Samoa. Day ThreeScotland couldn't carry on their good form into the final day of competition and couldn't get close to the Pacific Islanders in the semi-final.Despite having more possession, they found themselves down three tries to nil at the break and Samoa added another in the second half to end Scotland's run in Vegas, 0-24.ReactionSpeaking after the tournament, Scotland Head Coach Calum MacRae said: "Not qualifying for the Cup never sits well. There is frustration when you do some things outstandingly well but let others slip."I thought we played strong games against Australia and Fiji but at critical points we opened the door and invited the opposition back, in which cost us qualification.We bounced back on day two and completely controlled the tie against Japan delivering a more complete performance.Having gifted Wales turnover tries at the start of the match, we fought back well for the win in the second half. That spirit is ever present in this group of players.Our strength is playing as a team and when we deliver, we win games. We lost our concentration against Samoa and paid the price.Jamie Farndale was a handful all weekend and adapted to a positional shift which was pleasing.Hugh Blake got some good minutes under his belt after being out long term and Sean Kennedy and Tom Brown contributed well for their first outing in a number of years. Credit to all of them for adapting to new roles."