Scotland women’s sevens head coach Scott Forest said he was relishing the prospect of his side playing against heavyweights New Zealand and England at the Biarritz Sevens.
The Scots are the invitational side at this weekend’s tournament – the final leg of the women’s 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series – and they have a chance to test themselves against elite sides, having failed to reach next season’s world series after losing to Brazil in the qualifying final in Hong Kong.
“Having New Zealand in the group is exactly what I wanted,” Forrest was quoted as saying by The Scotsman. “To go to an event like this we want to play against the best in the world.”
Although disappointed with coming so close and missing in Hong Kong, Forrest is optimistic of making it back for the qualifiers next season.
He added: “Hong Kong was obviously disappointing in the end and it was frustrating not to play our best rugby in the final against a good Brazil side, but the players gave it everything out there.
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) June 10, 2019
“Rugby Europe is the main qualifier. If we finish in the top three outwith the five core world series European teams then that will get us to Hong Kong (elite qualifying series) again while finishing top of those three will get us to the European leg of the world series again. Our main aim is to get back to Hong Kong.”
Forrest has made three changes to the 12-woman squad who played in Hong Kong, calling up Meryl Smith and Evie Tonkin for their debuts, together with seasoned Eilidh Sinclair.
The 23-year-old Sinclair returns to the squad for her fourth cap, aiming to bring on board a wealth of experience gained from time spent playing for Queensland Reds in the Super W, Australia.
“I think the experience was invaluable,” Sinclair was quoted saying by The Scotsman. “I have got to learn from a number of top quality people including former Wallabies and I have been coached by assistant international coaches, so I have a lot more knowledge about the game and look at things differently now.”
On Sinclair’s selection, Forrest said: “We spoke about it before Hong Kong and if Eilidh had been free of a few injury problems then she would have been involved. It is great to have her back in.”
Apart from New Zealand and England, Scotland will also face Russia in Pool A.
Scotland squad: Hellen Nelson (captain), Abi Evans, Megan Gaffney, Rhona Lloyd, Jenny Maxwell, Chloe Rollie, Annabel Sergeant, Eilidh Sinclair, Hanna Smith, Meryl Smith, Lisa Thomson, Evie Tonkin.
Main photo credit: Scotland Rugby