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Page last updated at 12:08 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Scots Sevens set for World Cup

Scotland captain Roddy Grant in action

By Roddy Grant
Scotland Sevens player

It's destination Dubai for the Rugby World Cup Sevens from 5-7 March.

Scotland's performances improved over the first four legs of the Sevens World Series, and with the addition of more experienced players the squad are in their best position of the season.

And with all Scottish international sides having had a successful weekend, Roddy Grant says that gives the Sevens an extra incentive to do well in their quest to lift the Melrose Cup.

We arrived in Dubai early on Thursday morning and checked into our apartments. The official tournament hotel check-in wasn't until Sunday, but we came out a bit earlier than most of the teams.

There were four guys in each flat and it was great for bonding, having to cook our own meals and look after ourselves. Thankfully, there was a dishwasher so there were no arguments about who would wash up.

I was with Rob Dewey, Scott Forrest and Andy Turnbull. We were definitely the banter flat, everyone gathered at our place.

It was great to get our here early to acclimatise. It's been 37 degrees and that takes a bit of getting used to.

We've now moved into the hotel, which has everything you could ever think of.

It's on Palm Island, which is out in the sea, but they've made land in the shape of a palm tree and built this massive hotel on it. All 40 teams are here so there's a really good atmosphere.

We've had a very tough week of training, but that will taper off closer to the event so we can peak at the tournament.

Wales were another team who came out early, so on Saturday we had double rugby sessions then a game against them. That went reasonably well so everyone's in a good mood, there's a good buzz.

Earlier in the season I thought I'd find it quite strange having the World Cup in the middle of the Sevens Series, but as soon as we got here I realised how different it is.

There's a lot more hype and build up to this than any of the other tournaments, so we're aware that this is special.

We've had three additions to the squad since the last tournament in San Diego.

Scotty Forrest has come back from a serious injury and I don't think I've ever seen someone put so much into their rehab.

Scotland captain Roddy Grant in action
Grant can't wait to get the World Cup campaign under way

It was always his goal to be back for this World Cup, but everyone has been blown away by the effort he's put in to be fit for it. He's looking sharp and like he's never been away.

Jim Thompson has been a great servant for the Sevens, he was immense last year and was rewarded by being picked up by Edinburgh.

And having Rob Dewey around is great. He's a full international, has great skills and will be a huge weapon for the team.

I roomed with him, so we've shared tales of his time away at the World Cup in France, and I've told him about the differences with being away with the Sevens. He's thrilled to be here.

We only have two players in the squad who took part in the 2005 World Cup in Hong Kong: Colin Gregor and Andy Turnbull.

It's brilliant to have them here - they know how to manage players as well as situations.

You always want guys with experience to help others along, and even just set the tone of how things are done.

We've also had a lot of support from people back home. It was very good of Scottish Rugby to get us out here early, and for the clubs to release us.

Friends and family are sending us texts wishing us luck, but I think they just wish they were here with us!

The World Cup is similar to the Hong Kong Sevens set up. It's over three days rather than two.

We have one game on Thursday, and two on Friday. If you win all three of your pool games you're through to the quarter finals automatically. That's a huge incentive for us.

The two best runners-up also go through so every point and every try is vital in case points difference comes into it.

South Africa, Canada and Japan are in our pool. We've played them all before and had some good results, and we're determined to beat them this time round.

After playing Wales on Saturday we all got together and watched Scotland's Six Nations game. It looked like a great atmosphere at Murrayfield, and it was fantastic see a win.

The A team drew with Italy, while the Under 20s, Under 19s and Scotland Women all won their matches, so it's been a fantastic weekend for Scottish rugby.

Whenever you play for your national team you want to do the country proud, but when all the other teams have been successful that spurs you on.

So now it's over to us to give the best performances we can and hopefully bring the Melrose Cup back home.

Roddy Grant was speaking to BBC Scotland's Joanne McKillop.

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see also
Sevens Scots head Stateside
12 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland Sevens win Shield in NZ
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
All change for Sevens Scots
03 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Roddy Grant column
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand in IRB seventh heaven
01 Jun 08 |  Scottish

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