NEW Scotland 7s squad head coach Ciaran Beattie has sprung a major surprise by naming Femi Sofolarin, who played a number tournaments for England last year, in his core squad for the 2019-20 season.
The USA-born 19-year-old was capped for Scotland at XV-a-side during the 2018 Under-18 Six Nations Festival in Wales, scoring twice in the team’s 32-27 victory over England, but he then opted to wear the rose in the last three legs of last season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Singapore, London and Paris.
However, he could not be captured by England via the HSBC World Series until he had turned 20, so the Newcastle University student has been able to switch back to join the Scotland 7s programme ahead of the opening leg of 2019-20 in Dubai next month.
Sofolarin started playing rugby aged 11 at Dulwich College and Beckenham RFC and went on to make his Premiership club debut for Harlequins Under-18s in November 2017.
Some of the squad will head to Elche, Spain, this weekend for a European warm-up tournament and Sofolarin is expected to be involved.
Meanwhile, the other new faces in the 14-man core squad named by Beattie for the ten-leg series that runs from December to May 2020 are former Edinburgh Rugby man Tom Brown, ex-Ayr flyer Kyle Rowe and Marr’s Scott Bickerstaff.
The ten other players, led by experienced heads like Jamie Farndale, Robbie Fergusson, Max McFarland and Gavin Lowe, were all part of the programme last year as Scotland finished tenth overall on the circuit under John Dalziel, who is now Glasgow Warriors forwards coach.
Beattie, a former Scotland 7s cap himself, said: “We have trained really well over the past few weeks and can’t wait to get the series underway in Dubai next month.
“The squad represents a genuine blend of experienced heads and raw talent, something that bodes well for the next six months of competition across some iconic venues.
“The 2019-20 HSBC World Sevens Series promises to be as fiercely contested as ever but we’ll work hard as a group to compete with the very best.
“In an Olympic year, there’s an extra incentive for our boys to go out and give a good account of themselves to the world.”
Scotland Sevens core squad for the 2019/20 HSBC World Sevens Series (previous Scotland appearances on the circuit in brackets) –
Tom Brown (2)
Alec Coombes (10)
Harvey Elms (15)
Nyle Godsmark (27)
Jamie Farndale (41)
Robbie Fergusson (19)
Gavin Lowe (34)
Ross McCann (11)
Max McFarland (20)
Ally Miller (14)
Sam Pecqueur (10)
Kyle Rowe (2)