Sevens season gets underway for John Dalziel’s men

Scotland’s World Series Sevens journey for 2018/19 begins on Friday in Dubai.

Dubai Sevens captains

Last year around this time the likes of Darcy Graham and George Horne stepped up to the mark and showed what they can do – so it will be interesting to see who impresses in the first rounds of 10 in Dubai and then Cape Town next week this time around.

Scotland finished 12th  in the table in 2017/18, South Africa winning it, but with 17 contracted players this season head coach John Dalziel will be targeting a top 10 finish come the final event in France in June 2019.

There is a lot of rugby to be played and miles to clock up before that one though and, after Dubai and South Africa, the Series heads to New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and England before Paris.

New co-captains Jamie Farndale and Robbie Fergusson will lead the Scotland side in Dubai and they have been drawn in a pool with Fiji, France and Kenya.

Dalziel said: “After a long pre-season, it’s good to get back to World Series action. The group have put in a lot of good work over the summer months as well as reflecting on last season and taken on some real key learnings.

“We are hopeful the experiences this young group have had over the last 18 months can lead to further improvement in what is a huge year for the World Series, with Olympic qualification a huge motivator for many teams.

“There are no easy groups now with the seeding format and it will be good to test ourselves against two of the top two teams from last season, Fiji and Kenya, as well as a resurgent France side who have a few experienced players back in their squad for the coming season.”

Three to watch

Jamie Farndale

This will be the 24-year-old’s 32nd World Series event in a row having made his debut at Twickenham way back at the end of the 2014/15 campaign.

The prop/winger is one of the best defensive players in the Scotland team and in attack he has pace to burn. A great example to young players it is no surprise that he was named as one of the co-captain for 2018/19.

Kyle Steyn

 The 24-year-old prop/winger played twice for Scotland last year on the circuit and impressed.

The South African-born player has just finished a Currie Cup campaign and, when naming his core squad back in September, Dalziel said of him:  “Kyle is a Scottish lad who was brought up through Stellenbosch in South Africa. He has Scottish parents and he made himself fully available to us. He’s straight out of the Huw Jones mould.”

Max McFarland

Speak to him and you might not think he is Scottish. He has a broad Irish accent and had a spell living in Russia as a youngster, but his mother is a proud Scot and he loved his first year on the international circuit last term.

The winger, 25, played all 10 events last year and will be a big player in attack.

Scotland squad for Dubai (World Series appearances in brackets)

Scott Riddell (67)

Nyle Godsmark (16)

Kyle Steyn (2)

Robbie Fergusson (CC) (9)

Harvey Elms (7)

Glenn Bryce (16)

Jamie Farndale (CC) (31)

Jo Nayacavou (36)

Sam Pecqueur (1)

Gavin Lowe (24)

Max McFarland (10)

Ross McCann (2)

Mungo Mason (0)

Scotland fixtures (UK times)

Friday, November 30

5.44am v Kenya

9.06am v Fiji

2.44pm v France

Saturday, December 1

TBC depending on Friday’s results

Thanks to World Rugby and the Scottish Rugby Twitter for the images

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