Scotland 7s in London - Report and Reaction
It was a disappointing return to Twickenham for Scotland 7s winning one of six games on a tough weekend.
With just four players playing who were also involved in last year’s Cup victory, Scotland’s young squad fought hard in a ‘group of death’ on day one.
Playing in the Challenge Trophy on day two, Scotland were their own worst enemy in their first game of the day before finally clicking against France, proving exactly what they’re capable of.
They couldn’t repeat that performance in the final game of the tournament however and will now put the weekend behind them a focus the final HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament of the season in Paris.
With current World Series leaders Fiji, Commonwealth Gold Medallists New Zealand and high-flying Argentina all joining Scotland in Pool A, defending their crown was always going to be a daunting task.
Up against the All Blacks first, Scotland impressed in the opening seven minutes and were unlucky to be trailing 12-7. Darcy Graham with the try for the Scotland.
New Zealand pulled away in the second half, but John Dalziel was not disheartened with his side’s performance in a 12-24 defeat, Jack Cuthbert scoring a late try.
Next up were Fiji who arrived at London off the back of three consecutive tournament victories and displayed exactly why they are the side to beat on the circuit.
Darcy Graham and Bobby Beattie scored but Fiji overpowered Scotland 39-12.
In their final pool game against Argentina, Scotland raced into an early lead. Graham scoring his third try in three games and Jamie Farndale also crossing.
The South Americans fought back to lead before a Max McFarland try edged Scotland ahead again. However, they couldn’t hang on and Argentina snatched a win with a late try.
Drawn against Russia in the Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final, a Jamie Farndale brace looked to be sending Scotland through before the Russians equalised with the last play of the game.
Russia went on to score the crucial try in golden point extra-time, leaving Scotland to ponder over missed opportunities.
France were the next opponents and finally John Dalziel’s side showed what they were capable of.
Seven tries in total. A hat-trick from Harvey Elms, a brace from Nick McLennan plus scores from Jamie Farndale and Max McFarland saw the Scots comfortably beat France 43-21 and lift spirts.
In their final game against Samoa, Scotland were never in the contest. Starved of the ball and outclassed, two Harvey Elms tries couldn’t mask a disappointing performance to finish the weekend as they fell to a 34-10 defeat.
Scotland 7s Head Coach John Dalziel said: “Obviously we’re really disappointed. There was real optimism coming into the tournament as defending Champions and even though we were faced with a tough group the boys had belief that we could do something special.
“There were some key moments in that New Zealand game, a few errors, and rather than park that it seems to have been in our heads all weekend. It’s been like pushing a bus up a hill at points.
“You can never fault the endeavour, but our accuracy has really cost us this weekend. It’s not been like us. We’ve been a real handful for a lot of these teams all year and this weekend was our worst performance so far.
“The key thing about 7s is there’s always another game and always another weekend and we can have a good hard look at ourselves and try and finish the series on a more positive note next week.”