Scotland qualify for Cup competition in Dubai – despite Farndale blunder versus Fiji

National Sevens team face New Zealand in quarter-final tomorrow morning

A CALAMITOUS error by Jamie Farndale cost Scotland victory over Fiji in round two of the pool stage of the Dubai leg of the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Series this morning. The winger crossed the try-line with less than 20 seconds left on the clock, and all he needed to do was ground the ball to pUt his team ahead, but he inexplicably attempted to sneak past a last Fijian defender to score under the posts and ended being shoved over the dead-ball line before registering the score.

Robbie Fergusson, Max McFarland and Sam Pecqueur (with a wonder try) had already scored for Scotland in an encounter which had been nip and tuck all the way through, before Fiji finished up as 21-17 winners.

The agonising defeat was not completely disastrous to Scotland’s ambitions in this tournament, but it did mean that they ended up qualifying for the Cup competition in second place from Pool B and so face a far trickier quarter-final tie against New Zealand on Day Two (Saturday), whereas they would otherwise have been up against the USA.

“There was a red line there [behind the in-goal area] and I thought had a bit more space to get in, the stadium TV was down so I didn’t know what the score was and I should have kept track of that,” explained Farndale afterwards. “It was a massively disappointing and I was pretty low coming off, but the guys really got around me and got us through to the next round, so everyone has put in the shift we needed to.”

Earlier in the day, Scotland had run out 35-14 victors over Kenya, with McFarland, Fergusson and Pecqueur once again getting on the scoreboard, and Glenn Bryce also crossing for the men in blue.

They finished Day One of this World Series curtain-raiser with Farndale making amends for his earlier blunder to score his team’s first try in their final pool match against France, with Gavin Lowe also scoring before the break. Despite losing Bryce for two minutes to a yellow-card for throwing the ball away after the referee’s whistle, the Scots managed to hold on during the second half for the 14-14 draw they needed to qualify.

Scotland’s quarter-final clash against New Zealand will kick-off at 7.22am GMT.


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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1936 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.