Colin Gregor: Inside Scotland Sevens: Losing to England, tough lessons and righting the wrongs

Colin Gregor: Inside Scotland Sevens: Losing to England, tough lessons and righting the wrongs

It’s with a renewed vigour that we have returned to training this week. Dubai and South Africa ultimately ended in huge frustration and disappointment for us. In Dubai we put in a good performance against Australia in our Bowl quarter-final. Every other game we were within a score of winning, but lost them all. It is clear to see we have made some progress since the first tournament on the Gold Coast but we need to eliminate the silly mistakes and turn close defeats into victories. Further evidence of us moving in the right direction came in our first couple of games in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately we lost to New Zealand (14-7) but put in a very competitive performance. Then we ended our run of narrow defeats by defeating Fiji. It was great to turn over one of the top sides on the HSBC Sevens World Series. We then started very brightly against England before we fell away in the second half. This was hugely disappointing as we hate losing, especially to England, and it meant we ended up in the Bowl again.

It’s with a renewed vigour that we have returned to training this week. Dubai and South Africa ultimately ended in huge frustration and disappointment for us. In Dubai we put in a good performance against Australia in our Bowl quarter-final. Every other game we were within a score of winning, but lost them all. It is clear to see we have made some progress since the first tournament on the Gold Coast but we need to
eliminate the silly mistakes and turn close defeats into victories.

Further evidence of us moving in the right direction came in our first couple of games in Port Elizabeth. Unfortunately we lost to New Zealand (14-7) but put in a very competitive performance. Then we ended our run of narrow defeats by defeating Fiji. It was great to turn over one of the top sides on the HSBC Sevens World Series. We then started very brightly against England before we fell away in the second half. This
was hugely disappointing as we hate losing, especially to England, and it meant we ended up in the Bowl again.

We then learnt a tough lesson. If we are not playing very close to the top of our game we can come unstuck against any team. Our victory over Fiji was nullified by Day 2 losses to Kenya and Zimbabwe. We didn’t get close to the level of performance we need to operate at, making too many mistakes and failing to play at a tempo that suits our game.

Thus we have returned to Scotland desperate to make the gains that will take us to the cup competition. We know we are close but are also aware that no team will be resting on their laurels. Everybody will be stepping up their game in the lead up to Round 4 in Wellington. We need to do exactly the same.

This week we are focusing on making gains with our fitness. Along with a gym session every day we will be on the track for speed endurance, wrestling, body circuits, undertaking combat conditioning and some rugby fitness too. Add to this some pool recovery and we have a pretty full week in store. It’s not going to be easy to complete my Christmas shopping too.

We will conclude training with one last session before the New Year on Saturday. However, we are expected to undertake several sessions over the festive period. The coach has placed his trust in us that we will do these sessions. I have no doubt the boys will repay the faith. Everybody is hurting from our position in the standings and desperate to do all we can to start climbing the ladder.

We should, hopefully, be in great shape by the New Year. It’s important to relax and enjoy the festive period, but the treats taste all the better if they have been earned. Our/his dedication will allow us to focus on the rugby when we reconvene on January 2nd. Hopefully we will then be in the best shape possible for Wellington and Las Vegas, and ready to right the wrongs of Dubai and Port Elizabeth.