3 Gunners in Commonwealth Games 7s Squad
Dewey, Lawson and Rennie heading for Melbourne
Three Gunners players (Rob Dewey, Rory Lawson and Ross Rennie) are included in the Scotland 7s squad for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia (16 and 17 March).
Scotland 7s coach Rob Moffat has selected an exciting mix of sevens specialists alongside some of the country's up and coming stars. The Army's Mark Lee, Scotland's most capped sevens player, will lead the squad down under while former captain David Gray returns from Exeter where he has been putting the English First Division side through their paces as a strength and conditioning coach this season.
Regulars on the IRB circuit Oli Brown, Clark Laidlaw and Colin Gregor have been named in Moffat's squad with flying winger Andrew Turnbull on schedule to make a timely return from a knee injury that prevented him taking part in the IRB tournaments in Dubai and South Africa earlier this month.
Talented youngsters Ross Rennie, Rob Dewey and Ciaran Beattie have also been named. Scotland Under-19 flanker Rennie is an apprentice with the Edinburgh Gunners and has been involved in Scotland's last four IRB Sevens tournaments. Gunner Rob Dewey burst onto the Celtic League scene this season scoring a try in each of his first four outings for the pro-team while scrum-half Beattie made a double try scoring debut for Scotland 7s in the Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Test curtain-raiser against Argentina at Murrayfield last month.
Having been involved at last season's IRB tournaments in London and Paris, Ali Warnock returns in the playmaker role at stand-off with Gunner Rory Lawson also involved as a scrum-half having played for the Great Britain 7s team at the World Games in Duisburg, Germany during the summer. It's an exciting time for Scotland 7s and the Commonwealth Games provides the pinnacle of international competition for the squad this season.
Announcing the selections Louise Martin CBE, Chair, Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland said: "We are delighted that rugby has now chosen its squad for Melbourne. Rugby 7s has added an exciting dimension to the Commonwealth Games and I am sure their experience in Manchester in 2002 will stand them in good stead for Melbourne, enabling them to benefit from being part of a multi-sport Scotland team."
Coach Moffat said: "It's a world event and one that is only held once every four years. We are heavily committed to the Games and it is a major focus for our season, alongside the eight IRB tournaments.
"We have made no secret of the fact that we are aiming for a medal but we know that will be very difficult. In simple terms, to achieve that goal we will have to beat one of the top two sides in the world - Fiji or New Zealand. With the squad we have selected we have got more than a fighting chance of finishing on the podium," he added.
Scotland have been drawn against Zambia, Canada and Fiji in Pool B in what will be a tough group, with the last named the reigning world champions in the abbreviated version of the game.
Moffat has named 11 of the 12 man squad today, having decided to leave his options open to fill the final berth. He said: "That player will be decided on over the coming weeks. We are looking at the balance of the squad and taking into account the recent tournaments in Dubai and South Africa. We have a lot of talent and experience in this team but I am still on the look out for some additional power and pace."
On the return of former skipper David Gray, Moffat said: "It's great to see David back for the Commonwealth Games. He was an integral part of the squad for the past four years, earning 22 sevens caps, and played his best tournament in Paris at the end of last season. I'd like to thank all the clubs that we have worked with in bringing this squad together and we look forward to the challenge of representing Scotland in Melbourne."
At the last Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester in 2002, Scotland won the bowl competition.
SCOTLAND 7s SQUAD FOR THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Mark Lee * (The Army) CAPTAIN
Ross Rennie (Edinburgh Gunners and Stewart's Melville FP)
Oli Brown * (Boroughmuir)
David Gray * (Exeter Chiefs)
Rob Dewey * (Edinburgh Gunners)
Rory Lawson * (Edinburgh Gunners)
Ciaran Beattie (Border Reivers and Selkirk)
Colin Gregor * (Glasgow Warriors and Watsonians)
Clark Laidlaw * (Jed-Forest)
Ali Warnock * (Nottingham)
Andrew Turnbull * (Watsonians)
A N OTHER
* indicates member of the Scottish Institute of Sport