Scottish Rugby decides to remain on the HSBC Sevens World Series
Board "unanimously" voted to remain on the circuit despite the expected loss of the Glasgow Sevens event from next season
Scotland will remain on the HSBC Sevens World Series next season despite reports of the team’s impending demise.
The Scottish Rugby Union confirmed on Thursday evening that the board “unanimously confirmed” that it would continue to back the team on the globetrotting circuit.
The positive recent results by the team, heritage of the game in Scotland and incentive of contributing to a future Team GB Olympic 7s squad means Scottish Rugby will continue to support a national 7s team.
Scottish Rugby statement
Scotland reached the medals quarter-final at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games last summer, losing to eventual winners South Africa, before going down to England in the Plate semi-finals.
They followed that up with finishing runners-up to France on the Rugby Europe-organised Sevens Grand Prix in September ahead of the 2014/15 World Series, but the expected loss of the annual Glasgow Sevens round of the World Series to Paris from 2016 has forced Scottish Rugby consider its position, despite other countries looking to increase their funding for what is now an Olympic sport.
A statement from Scottish Rugby said: “The Board of Scottish Rugby today unanimously confirmed the national 7s team will continue to compete in the HSBC Sevens World Series.
“The positive recent results by the team, heritage of the game in Scotland and incentive of contributing to a future Team GB Olympic 7s squad means Scottish Rugby will continue to support a national 7s team.
“The current squad and management have today been informed of this decision. Discussions will take place with the 7s team and management following the HSBC Sevens World Series tournament in London to plan the structure of the programme for next season.”
Edinburgh Rugby scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne reacts to the news of Scotland’s reprieve:
— Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (@Hidalgoclyne) May 14, 2015
Former Scotland international Scott Hastings reacts to Scottish Rugby’s decision:
— Scott Hastings (@ScottHastings13) May 14, 2015
In his first season in charge, former sevens international Calum MacRae has led Scotland to seventh place on the World Series with one round to play this weekend at the Marriott London Sevens.
If you look at the progress the players have made this year, I think they’ve exceeded a lot of people’s expectations considering it’s the same group of players – that’s a credit to them.
The 35-year-old has orchestrated a remarkable rise that has taken the Scots go from finishing 12th last season with Stephen Gemmell in charge to making six Cup quarter-final appearances in eight rounds this season, while sixth place remains an outside possibility if the USA have a disappointing weekend at Twickenham.
A top seven finish would be Scotland’s best since the World Series came into existence in 2000 and comes just two years after they avoided relegation by coming through the World Series qualifiers to retain their core nation status.
Speaking after Scotland finished sixth at the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens on Sunday, Scotland head coach Calum MacRae insisted that his players deserved credit for exceeding expectations.
“If you look at the progress the players have made this year, I think they’ve exceeded a lot of people’s expectations considering it’s the same group of players – that’s a credit to them,” he said.
“You can see that we’ve missed in one or two of the games against the top sides, but that’s part of the process.
“Given more opportunities I’m sure we’ll be able to turn that around.”
MacRae confirmed on Sunday that the squad were preparing for next season as normal, despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of the sevens programme and player contracts.
Those talks are expected to begin after the London Sevens, but there is no clarity over whether Scotland will run a full-time sevens programme or return to part-time status with a player pool drawn from the 15s game.
Scotland are due to compete on the 12-nation Sevens Grand Prix circuit which visits Moscow, Lyon and Exeter in June and July.