SCOTLAND Men are through to the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games Sevens tournament after beating Tonga 41-0 then Malaysia 50-12 in today’s pool games. But Scotland Women have no hope of reaching the knockout stages after convincing defeats by Fiji and Australia.
It was the women who were first in action on the opening day of the Games at the Coventry Stadium, and Scotland gave as good as they got for a time in their opening Pool B match against Fiji. But they conceded scores either side of half-time and eventually lost 33-12, with Shona Campbell and Rhona Lloyd scoring tries and co-captain Helen Nelson adding a conversion.
There was some confusion about the exact final score, with World Rugby recording it as 31-12 but the official Games website insisting it was 33-12. More relevantly, though, the loss meant that Scott Forrest’s squad needed to beat Australia in their second outing to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals in their two-pool, eight-team competition. In the event, however, they were completely outclassed by the Australians, who cruised to a 50-0 victory.
They now meet South Africa in their third and final pool game at nine o’clock tomorrow morning (Saturday), after which they will play classification matches to determine places five to eight in the final standings.
“I thought we were in the game [against Fiji] in the first half at 7-5 down,” head coach Forrest said at the end of the day’s play. “They then scored in the last play of the first half and again in the first play of the second half, and all of a sudden that’s a 12-point swing and we’re chasing two scores. We created a lot of good moments but unfortunately we just didn’t convert them.
“Against the Aussies there was no expectation against a team that has just won the World Series. Australia are very good: the scoreline shows that. They pounced on a few errors. We couldn’t hold on to possession and they are very good from turnover ball. Again, we showed glimpses of what we’re about.
“We knew Day One was going to be a tough day. The big thing for me is that these players [his squad] don’t get an opportunity to play on the World Series against teams like this, and the experience is only going to make them better. The big focus for us against South Africa now is to take the good bits and hopefully put it into a performance that beats them.”
The men’s competition comprises 16 teams split into four pools, with the top two each going through to the last eight, and Scotland got their Pool B campaign off to an encouraging start with that convincing win over Tonga. Femi Sofolarin scored a hat-trick of tries, Jamie Farndale, Jordan Edmunds, Alec Coombes and Jake Henry touched down once each, and Kaleem Barreto was on target with three conversions.
They got off to a flying start in the evening against Malaysia too, and were 26-12 up at the break thanks to tries from Matt Davidson and Alec Coombes, a double from Lee Jones, and three conversions from Davidson.
In the second half, Jake Henry scored a hat-trick and Sofolarin touched down for his fourth of the day, with Davidson adding two more conversions. Scotland now play South Africa at 12.18pm tomorrow to determine the winners of the pool. First in B will play second in Pool C, where Fiji and Canada were the frontrunners after winning their first ties.
“I’m really pleased with the results,” men’s head coach Ciaran Beattie said. “Tonga are a really proud rugby nation, and to get a result like that against them in our first game is something we’re really proud of – not just the result but also the way we went about our business. I think we’re playing some exciting rugby at the minute and everything we touched seemed to turn to gold there.
“Then with Malaysia it’s easy to take your foot off the gas after playing well against Tonga, but we gave them the respect they deserved and put in a really good performance. We’re in great shape heading into a big game against South Africa tomorrow.”