Former Scotland and British Lions captain Gavin Hastings is joining the management of the Scotland Sevens team as it was confirmed today that they will play in all eight IRB tournaments next season.
Hastings will be commercial manager for Scottish Rugby Sevens and will be charged with attracting support and financial backing for the national side in the abbreviated form of the game that Scotland gave to the world 121 years ago. The Famous Grouse, sponsor of the Scotland team, also sponsors the Scotland sevens side.
Scottish Rugby's Director of Rugby, Ian McGeechan, also disclosed today that Rob Moffat, who coached the Scotland seven to their highest ever position in an IRB tournament - sixth in the London competition last season - would take on the role as sevens programme manager and continue to lead the coaching. Peter Gallagher and physiotherapist Stephen Mutch will also have management roles.
McGeechan said: "During the extensive consultation in our strategic review one message came through very clearly and very much mirrored my own view - sevens is a vital part in our player development.
"I am delighted to confirm today that we will be competing in the full IRB sevens circuit over the next two seasons. We were praised by the IRB for our involvement on a part-time basis last season, when we won second ranking competitions in the prestigious Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments and also qualified for the 2005 Rugby World Cup sevens, a task that had been beyond us four years previously.
"To be invited by the IRB to compete in all the tournaments is a feather in our cap and one we must seize to look to improve our sevens ranking and to further develop our players."
McGeechan said Hastings' role would be both as a high profile ambassador and a business manager. "We consider sevens as being a business unit in its own right. There is a lot of interest from companies worldwide in what the sevens squad have done so far and Gavin will be looking to develop those links. He will attend the tournaments and is very much looking forward to his involvement."
Hastings said: "Having seen the sevens squad in action in many of the IRB tournaments over the last couple of seasons I'm excited about working with a tight-knit group of promising players.
"The management team are very focused and I hope that we will enjoy success both on and off the field."
Rob Moffat said: "This is a fantastic development for Scottish Rugby. Our commitment to the entire IRB series is something I've wanted to see for the last few years. It's not just about being invited to those tournaments. It will be tough but we must look to improve with each performance."
Scotland will compete in Dubai (2/3 December), George, South Africa (10/11 December), Wellington (4/5 February), Los Angeles (12/13 February), Hong Kong (RWC 18/19/20 March), Singapore (mid-April), Bordeaux (dates to be confirmed) and London (dates to be confirmed). Funding for participation comes directly from the IRB.
In addition, Scotland are competing in sevens in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia from 29 November - 4 December underlining Ian McGeechan's contention that sevens is an integral part of the development of players from under-16 through to the full international squad.
Scotland Sevens squad for September
John Beattie (GHA and Glasgow Rugby), Paul Boston (unattached), Olo Brown (Boroughmuir), Kelly Brown (The Borders and Scottish Institute of Sport), Darren Burns (Watsonians), David Callam (Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Institute of Sport), Malcolm Clapperton (Boroughmuir), Neil Cochrane (Watsonians), Rory Couper (Boroughmuir), Steven Duffy (Glasgow Hawks and Glasgow Rugby), Iain Fairley (Kelso), David Gray (Gala), Colin Gregor (Watsonians and Glasgow Rugby), Charlie Keenan (unattached), Clark Laidlaw (Jedforest), Mark Lee (The Army), Alan MacDonald (Heriot's and Edinburgh Rugby), Calum MacRae (The Borders and Scottish Institute of Sport), Alan Nash (Watsonians), Roland Reid (Golden Lions), Kenny Sinclair (Glasgow Hawks), Alasdair Strokosch (Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Institute of Sport), Andrew Turnbull (The Borders), Johnny Weston (The Borders).
Scotland Development Sevens squad (to play at Selkirk Sevens at Philiphaugh on Sunday 29 August first tie v Berwick at 3.18pm)
Sean Crombie (Kirkcaldy), Chris Dunlop (Durham University), Jamie Hood (Stewart's-Melville FP), Andrew Hutt (Dunfermline), Tane Jericevich (Aberdeen GSFP), Cameron Johnston (Merchiston Castle School), James King (Berwick and The Borders) CAPTAIN, David McCall (Stewart's-Melville College), Ross Rennie (Stewart's-Melville FP), Greig Ryan (Ellon) - This squad is drawn from the wider squad for the Commonwealth Youth Games.