Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS) in conjunction with Scottish Rugby today announced the 12 Rugby Sevens players selected to represent Team Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games this summer. Four of the 12 players have competed in the Commonwealth Games before, with two involved in Delhi 2010 when Scotland 7s had their best finish in the multi-sport event, sixth place.
Scotland 7s will compete in front of a 49,000 plus strong crowd, per session, at Ibrox over two days (26 and 27 July) and will share a group with New Zealand, Canada and Barbados. The group stages will follow a round-robin format on day one, just like the Sevens World Series, with Scotland required to win at least two of their three games to keep their medal hopes alive on day two.
The second day will be a knockout competition with the Gold and Silver medals up for grabs in the final. The Bronze medallist will be decided between the two teams that lose in the semi-finals in a third placed play-off. Scotland 7s’ best finish this season in the World Series was at their home tournament in Glasgow earlier this month. They finished fourth behind New Zealand, Canada and Fiji, the first two of which will compete in the Games, and beat Australia and South Africa along the way.
Rugby Sevens is one of 10 core sports at the Commonwealth Games and has been included in the Games programme since 1998 in Kuala Lumpur. Scotland 7s however, didn’t make their Commonwealth Games debut until 2002 in Manchester.
Scotland is the home of Rugby Sevens. In 1883 local butcher Ned Haig in a drive to generate funds for Melrose Rugby Club in the Scottish Borders suggested hosting a rugby tournament at the Greenyards as part of a wider sports day. It was felt that full, 15-a-side matches were too much so the number of players was cut to seven and the match time to 15 minutes.
The squad announced today will have one player who will win his first ever international Sevens cap. Glasgow Warriors’ Tommy Seymour is named in the squad after a string of impressive performances this year for his club and the Scotland national team, showcasing relevant skills to the abbreviated game. He has won eight XV-a-side Scotland caps to date.
He is joined by International capped Sean Lamont, who has 86 caps for his country, returning to Scotland 7s for the first time since May 2009 where he played in the final round of the World Series at Murrayfield. Lamont has previous experience in the Commonwealth Games; he was a member of the squad that competed in Manchester in 2002.
Also returning for the first time in a number of years is Edinburgh Rugby’s Roddy Grant who has won 12 World Series caps. Grant was last involved in the Edinburgh tournament in 2010. Scotland 7s full-time professionals Colin Shaw, who was involved four years ago in Delhi and captain Colin Gregor, who was involved in Melbourne in 2006, win their second Commonwealth Games caps along with Glasgow Warriors’ Lee Jones, who was a member of the Delhi squad.
The youngest member of the squad is Glasgow Warriors’ Mark Bennett who helped Scotland win the Bowl in Hong Kong in March this year. Aged just 21, he has won two World Series caps and scored seven tries. James Johnstone, 24, will also win his first Commonwealth Games cap, following his 18 World Series caps and 22 tries.
The remainder of the squad is made up of players who featured in Scotland 7s’ fourth place at the recent Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s. They are Glasgow Warriors’ Richie Vernon, James Eddie and Scotland 7s’ Scott Riddell and Scott Wight.
Making the announcement Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Jon Doig said: “The inclusion of Scotland 7s always brings a great dynamic to Team Scotland and we are delighted to welcome the 12 players named today. Scotland 7s have shown some excellent form on home soil this season and with a strong team selection confirmed, we are confident they will give the home crowd a lot to cheer about when they take to the pitch at Ibrox.”
Stephen Gemmell, Scotland 7s Head Coach added: “I have selected a group of players that can be successful at a home games. This is the most important selection I have ever made and the biggest ever for Scotland 7s. The balance of players I have opted for is the strongest combination available to me; therefore, I’d like to thank Scotland, Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby for their support.
“I’m delighted to bring in a number of the players who were involved with the top four finish in the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s earlier this month and add to that group with players who have a sevens pedigree or who I believe add value to the squad. Firstly, Tommy [Seymour] is a proven finisher at professional and international level. He has a very good all-round skill set. He is a strong defender, good with ball in the air and he always challenges the opposition defence. He will definitely add value to this group.
“Sean [Lamont] is a significantly capped international winger, he came through sevens, he has played in a previous Commonwealth Games and he helped Scotland reach the Cup semi-final in Murrayfield in 2009. He is one of a number of Glasgow Warriors players who come in from a successful environment at Scotstoun, which will be very positive for us. Roddy [Grant] has cut his teeth in sevens. He brings a wealth of experience, he has previously captained the side and he has had a good season at Edinburgh Rugby.
“I have selected a squad that I believe can build on the success we had at the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s in 2014. Being part of a wider Team Scotland is a unique opportunity for all players and management and we will be working hard to ensure we deliver on home soil.”
Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison said: “Congratulations to all of the squad selected for Team Scotland. The success enjoyed by the squad at the recent Glasgow Sevens shows what can be achieved with the backing of a home crowd. The Sevens tournament promises to be a fantastic, exciting event featuring most of the top sides in the Sevens World Series. I am sure there will be an electric atmosphere at Ibrox with Head Coach Stephen Gemmell, Colin Gregor and the rest of the squad doing the nation proud.”
Also welcoming the selections, Louise Martin CBE, chair of sportscotland said: “I am delighted to see such a blend of youth and experience in the Rugby Sevens players selected for Team Scotland. They will be joining the finest group of athletes this country has ever produced for a Commonwealth Games, and each deserves warm congratulations.
“One of the main reasons we are able to prepare world-class athletes is because of the high performance support services provided by sportscotland. World-class experts, working with world-class athletes, give the country every reason to be excited about our prospects at what promises to be the best ever Games.”
This brings the total Team Scotland numbers selected so far to 149, with an anticipated final team in the region of 270 athletes.
Richie Vernon Dundee / Glasgow
James Eddie Paisley / Glasgow
James Johnstone Dumfries / Edinburgh
Roddy Grant Jwaneng, Botswana / Edinburgh
Scott Riddell Edinburgh / Edinburgh
Colin Shaw Irvine / Glasgow
Lee Jones Edinburgh / Glasgow
Colin Gregor Glasgow / Glasgow
Scott Wight Galashiels / Melrose
Mark Bennett Irvine / Glasgow
Sean Lamont Perth / Glasgow
Tommy Seymour Nashville, Tennessee / Glasgow