Commonwealth Games: Scotland Sevens 'gaining momentum' - John Dalziel

Scotland Sevens player Jamie Farndale is tackled
Scotland Sevens saw off England on the opening day of the Hong Kong leg of the World Series
2018 Commonwealth Games
Venue: Gold Coast, Australia Dates: 4-15 April
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with extra streams on Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and app; listen on Radio 5 live; follow text updates online. Times and channels

Head coach John Dalziel says Scotland Sevens have benefited from utilising their first-choice squad for the Hong Kong leg of the World Series.

Several of their Commonwealth Games counterparts chose to rest their front-line stars for the tournament.

But Dalziel opted to field a near-full-strength squad - with only Jo Nayacavou rested - in preparation for next weekend's fixtures on the Gold Coast.

"We've got a little bit of a head start," he told BBC Scotland.

"We've got an exciting squad. There are different strategies - teams like South Africa and New Zealand have chosen to rest up their guys and put them into the Commonwealth athletes' village early and prepare, and send youngsters here.

"We've got some momentum, we've come through relatively injury-free, and I think the momentum of playing is going to put us in a good position next week."

Scotland beat their English counterparts 22-19 on the opening day of the Hong Kong competition courtesy of Lee Jones' late try.

The Glasgow and Scotland XVs winger is one of six members of the squad drafted in from pro-teams Warriors and Edinburgh.

The Scots were beaten 31-17 by World Series champions South Africa, whom they face in their Commonwealth pool, on day two, before thrashing South Korea 61-7 to reach the cup quarter-finals.

John Dalziel at Murrayfield
John Dalziel was formerly in charge of the Scotland Under-20 side

Dalziel's men lost 19-12 to eventual runners-up Kenya in the last eight, and went down 19-5 to USA in the fifth-placed semi-final.

"It's been good having the group together for this weekend," Dalziel added.

"The hard thing about sevens is the time together and learning. It's been really invaluable from that point of view to get the guys all up to speed so they can kick on for next week

"In terms of low error counts and high tackle completion, we've been top of a lot of the charts. Restarts and [other] areas are where we could really focus on to try and gain more possession.

"[The Hong Kong leg] has given us a really easy plan in terms of the things that are working really well at the moment, and the things that need little tweaks.

"Preparation time is going to be pretty short - we're going to have three quality sessions on the Gold Coast - so the work we've done this weekend is the big stuff."

Scotland face Papua New Guinea (02:43 BST), Malaysia (09:15) and South Africa (13:17) on Saturday, 14 April in Pool A of the Games' rugby sevens.

Scotland Sevens squad for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
NameClub
Glenn BryceEdinburgh Rugby
Matt FagersonGlasgow Warriors
Jamie FarndaleCore Scotland Sevens player
James FlemingCore Scotland Sevens player
Nyle GodsmarkCore Scotland Sevens player
Darcy GrahamEdinburgh Rugby
George HorneGlasgow Warriors
Ruaridh JacksonGlasgow Warriors
Lee JonesGlasgow Warriors
Gavin LoweCore Scotland Sevens player
Max McFarlandCore Scotland Sevens player
Jo NayacavouCore Scotland Sevens player
Scott Riddell (captain)Core Scotland Sevens player

Their battle with the Blitzbokke could decide who progresses to the knockout stage as pool winners.

"There's a clear way South Africa will play," Dalziel added. "They're one of the very few teams that know what works for them and regardless of who they play and where they play, they do what they do very well.

"They're really physical, they like to have the ball but they also enjoy not having it. A lot of their attack comes from turnovers.

"We know by past results that we can trouble them with our own game, and that's the challenge. If we can get our game going really well, we can be a match for anyone.

"We've done a lot of diligence and preparation, we've experimented with little combinations this weekend, but next week it's about the business end and hoping Scottish rugby can contribute to Team Scotland.

"We're all professional and competitive people, so being part of it's not enough. We want to do really well and be in the reckoning for a team medal."

Top Stories