Unpredictability favours the men from the Scottish highlands. They defied the odds by beating the best two-years-in-a-row, to take out the HSBC London 7s on the World Rugby Sevens Series. And here at the Rugby World Cup Sevens (RWC7s) tournament, fortune might favour the ‘brave’.
They will be the surprise package of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens if not tamed early. The three day tournament will see the Men’s and Women’s side playing for top honors, at the iconic AT&T Park in San Francisco from July 20-22. The top ranked International Women’s and Men’s side will fight for the Gold; both held by the Kiwis.
The Scottish are seeded eighth among the 24 team Men’s teams competing at the RWC7s event, all vying for the coveted Melrose Cup. The Cup is named after the birthplace of the game of sevens rugby…ironically, in Scotland!
Scotland will meet the winner of the Kenya and Tonga match, to kick start their ’round of 16′ campaign. From then, every game is a knockout and they will have to be on their toes.
Unpredictability favours the Scots
Scott Riddell leads the unpredictable Scots, with experienced players like Jamie Farndale (see main picture) and Gavin Lowe. Joe Nayacavou adds some Fijian flair to the team, that will compliment the brave Scots, whose reputation is to ‘battle to the end of every match’.
7s | With just two days to go until the #rwc7s, here’s a reminder of your Scotland squad competing for the Melrose Cup in San Francisco.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) July 18, 2018
Max McFarland has been the find of the Sevens Series season. Together with Harvey Elms, Sam Perquer. Robbie Ferguson ,Nyles Goodsmark and Jack Cuthbert, all add a unique dimension and work ethic which will be needed all weekend.
SCOTLAND; the Bravehearts
Coach: John Dalziel | Captain: Scott Riddell | Twitter handle: @ScotlandTeam
RWC Sevens best result: Quarter-finalists 2005
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 final ranking: 12
The nation that introduced rugby sevens to the world and hosted the sport’s first recognized tournament [some 135 years ago] is belatedly starting to build momentum as a force in the global game. Winning back-to-back London 7s titles in 2016 and 2017 is proof of that. Finishing a creditable sixth at the most recent edition of the Commonwealth Games in Australia also points to better results.
Both London triumphs came under the coaching of Calum MacRae. Since then, successor John Dalziel has had the past year to put his own stamp on a youthful team. That includes the likes of Robbie Fergusson, who finished the series on a high as the DHL Impact Player of the Tournament, at the Paris Sevens.
Sevens heaven for Robbie Fergusson as he looks forward to World Cup after remarkable recovery https://t.co/MtOASMHjBm
— #rugbyscotland (@RugbySco) July 15, 2018
Experience comes from inspirational captain Scott Riddell, who is now in his ninth year of international sevens. But Scotland need to find some consistency after a season that saw them finish out of the World Series knockout stages, more times than they reached the Cup quarter-finals.
If the excitement of being at a large event like the RWC7s can inspire the young men, then ‘the bravehearts’ could find better days in San Francisco.
Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018; the Verdict
The Scots will be unpredictable – as always – and it is the Rugby World Cup Sevens; with every team wanting to win. To go far, they need to kill the game off as possible, not giving their opponents time to recover. A high pace, good ball retention and using smart tactics – not watching the ball, but making use of the ball, is key.
On the other hand, playing catch up rugby will not always work in your favour….unless you are Fiji. Simple mistakes always cost them games, so if the summer training has addressed that, then who knows. We might have our second Celtic world cup winner [after Wales won in 2009].
— SCRUM Magazine (@SCRUMMAGAZINE) April 5, 2018
RWC7s pick: Max McFarland will be the Scot to watch. Watch for him to gain in confidence, if he can cross the chalk line early.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images