Scotland name first full-time sevens squad

Colin Gregor
Versatile Gregor has been a regular performer with Glasgow Warriors

Scottish Rugby has named its first-ever full-time professional squad - and included four senior players from Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh.

Scrum-half Colin Gregor, full-back Peter Horne and flanker James Eddie were previously with Warriors and winger Andrew Turnbull with Edinburgh.

In all, 12 players have been named in Graham Shiels' squad.

The coach explained that the players were available for XVs rugby, but the sevens game was now their priority.

"They can play with the pro-teams or in club rugby outwith the sevens window, but when it comes to preparation and playing in the HSBC Sevens World Series then Scotland 7s has first call on their services and that's different to the way we have operated in the past," he told the SRU website.

"When we have had consistency in our squad, we have been able to be competitive on the world stage.

"In the past, we have had players with some sevens expertise, but particularly when we have been choosing players from the pro-teams, we have been asking players whose focus was understandably on XVs to prepare in a very limited time frame and play sevens.

"Now the emphasis for this group will be sevens and that matters a huge amount in terms of their preparation, their strength and conditioning and their nutrition."

The new squad will particularly target medal success at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Back-row Struan Dewar joins the squad from Edinburgh's development side and winger James Fleming from Warriors' youth set-up.

Joining them in the squad are Adam Ashe, Sam Hidalgo Clyne, Kerr Gossman, Rory Hughes, Sean Kennedy and Hamish Watson from Scottish Rugby's Elite Development players.

Scrum-half Kennedy, openside flanker Watson and winger Gossman are from the Scotland Under-20 squad, while number eight Ashe, stand-off/full-back Hidalgo Clyne and wing Hughes are from the Under-18 set-up.

Discussions are continuing with clubs and players to augment the full-time squad with a club specialist sevens squad of up to 12 players, while players outwith Scotland, such as Team Northumbria flanker Michael Fedo, may also be involved.

Gregor, who first played for Scotland 7s eight years ago, said: "It's a really exciting time to be selected for the full-time Scotland 7s squad.

"The sevens game is taking off in such a big way with the decision that sevens will be part of the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and you're seeing many countries now investing really seriously in rugby.

"It's just three years to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and we have shown that when we have a consistent squad we can compete on the HSBC 7s World Series and we have to look to build on that and improve in the years ahead."

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