#RWC2019: Q&A with former Scotland 7s star Nick Penny, now of Savills property experts

'Our sponsorship will allow rugby fans to keep on accessing quality stories, news and views throughout the tournament without having to put their hands in their pockets'

Nick Penny
Nick Penny tackles Somoa's Orene Ai''I during the Dubai Sevens in 1998
Savills

Q: How many times did you play for Scotland Sevens and what era was it? 

A: I played over about a 10 year period from the early 1990’s to the early 2000’s. Whilst we didn’t play as many tournaments as the boys play now, it racked up in terms of numbers over the decade. I loved playing 7’s and particularly for Scotland, it was a great honour.  I still watch the 7’s team as often as I can, although the game has moved on considerably from our day!

Q: What was your best ever result? And your worst? 

A: Best ever results were drawing 19-19 in the 1997 Rugby 7’s World Cup with an Australian team that included David Campese in our first game and going on to make the Cup competition (we ended up 8th, which at the time was a result!).  We were runners-up in the plate in Hong Kong in 1999 and we also won the Plate competition in Dubai on a few occasions.

My worst memory was failing to qualify for the 2001 World Cup 7’s…….a total shocker.  With the exception of New Zealand and Fiji, we beat most countries at some point.

Q: Savills have a long history of supporting Scottish Rugby, what do they get out of the relationship?

A: Rugby has given those of us who were lucky enough to play the game some core values that are massively relevant to how we do business.  Teamwork, trust, leadership and collective goals, the ability to have honest conversations to improve performance as well as having fun are all important to success in rugby as well as in business.

Q: And why specifically throw the weight of Savills behind theoffsideline.com’s (TOL) coverage of the RWC’19?

A: RWC’19 is the biggest sporting event on the planet this year and with much of the online rugby coverage behind paywalls now, it is great to support TOL who provide great coverage for free. Our sponsorship will allow rugby fans to keep on accessing quality stories, news and views throughout the tournament without having to put their hands in their pockets.

Q: Will you get a chance to go to Japan to cheer on the boys in blue?

A: I have been trying my best to find a way to get to Japan this year to support Scotland at the RWC without success! Japan is a country that has always fascinated me and I’d love to go to a World Cup to enjoy the event, but as yet, I haven’t been creative enough, so will have to resort to watching the games on TV.  However, where there’s will, there’s usually a way, and if Scotland make it to the Final I’ll be trying my best to get there!

Q: Your big boss was planning on going?

A: Our Group CEO, Mark Ridley, was due to be going to Japan but is now not going, unfortunately.  I know he will be following Engerland closely.  Mark tells me he was a decent fly-half and spent some time playing club rugby in Sydney ‘back in the day’!!

Q: Scotland has a new director of rugby in Jim Mallinder, whose brother you know?

A: Yes. Peter Mallinder works at Savills in Manchester.  Jim has given Savills clients fantastic insight previously when he coached at Sale and then Northampton and we hope that once he is in-situ in the new role he will spend some time with us up here.  He’s a top bloke who demonstrates many of the values I mentioned above.

Q: Savills are sponsoring our World Cup coverage so give us a few predictions?

A: RWC’19 is arguably the most unpredictable Rugby World Cup ever.  The All Blacks and South Africa are clearly the form teams from the Southern Hemisphere and cannot be ruled out, but the Aussies can beat anyone on their day, as can all the Home Nations and France.  Argentina have a strong track record in World Cups and the South Sea Islanders usually cause an upset.  Japan also showed in the last World Cup they are capable of beating anyone and home advantage will count heavily in their favour.  I think the USA will win the World Cup in the future… but not this year.

In a World Cup it doesn’t matter what a team’s pre-tournament form has been or how you win games,  you just have to keep winning.  England pulled a few games back from the brink in 2003, against Wales and Samoa particularly, but they found a way to win.

As for a final winner….my heart will always say Scotland, my head will go South Africa as I think they have great strength in depth.


  • Nick is ‘Head of Scotland’ for Savills.
  • The Offside Line is delighted that Savills, one of the world’s leading property agents, is sponsoring our coverage of Rugby World Cup 2019.

#RWC2019: World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper admits CVC investment is cause for concern

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article

Support our new, improved coverage this season 2019-20, with Super 6, National 1 and 2 leagues, fixtures and tables, and the small matter of our comprehensive coverage of Scotland at the RWC from Japan.

Invest in our gameyou can make a difference by keeping Scottish rugby at all levels in the news.

Savills
Iain Morrison
About Iain Morrison 7 Articles
Iain was capped 15 times for Scotland at openside flanker between his debut against Ireland during the 1993 Six Nations and his final match against New Zealand at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa. He was twice a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and played his entire club career with London Scottish (being inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2016). Iain is a lifelong member of Linlithgow Rugby Club. After hanging up his boots, he became rugby correspondent for The Sunday Herald, before moving to The Scotland on Sunday for 16 years, and he has also guest written for various other publications.