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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

All change for Sevens Scots

Scotland have found this year's series tough

By Roddy Grant
Scotland Sevens player

The IRB Sevens World Series returns this weekend after a two-month break.

Despite showing improvement between Dubai and South Africa in November, the Scots have yet to pick up any points.

The squad are in New Zealand for the third leg of the series, and with the addition of more experience to the squad, Roddy Grant believes it is time for the Scots to raise their game.

We all met up last week for a four-day training camp where we had double practise every day as well as weights and fitness sessions.

It was really tough but that's what we needed especially with the new guys coming in.

Only four players remain from the last tournament, so it was good to spend some time playing together and we're pleased with how it's gone so far.

After the last two tournaments we needed to make changes to the squad.

Professional players like Mike Adamson, Andrew Turnbull and Colin Gregor have been on plenty tours, so it's a real bonus to get them back.

Colin has taken over the captaincy. He has vast experience, consistently plays well and always leads from the front.

That makes it a lot easier for the players around him.

It's such a huge privilege to captain your country, but even though it's not me this time, pulling on that Scotland jersey is motivation enough.

I'm just grateful to have had the chance to do it.

After a 36-hour journey, we arrived in Wellington on Monday. For me, it's a return to the country where I spent the summer on the John McPhail scholarship.

It was set up by his family after he died, and one player is picked each year to spend three months in New Zealand.

It was a great experience for me. The rugby culture here is just mad. Every person on the street has great knowledge of the game. But on the pitch it's tough going.

There's a huge Polynesian and Maori influence, and some of them are big guys. I think I was the lightest forward by about 20 kilos in every match.

I've been really impressed by Wellington as a city. We're staying in the centre, so we got a chance to walk around last night and it's beautiful, as is the weather!

On Thursday we're taking part in a float parade through the city. Last year 15,000 people turned out for it, and tickets for the tournament sold out in 12 minutes, so that shows just how fanatical they are about rugby here.

On Friday we'll play South Africa, Tonga and Kenya in our pool matches.

We need to get higher up in the seeds, so we would have preferred a slightly easier draw, if that can ever be the case.

South Africa won the first two tournaments, and Tonga and Kenya will be tough as well.

It'll be a challenge, but we're confident, and hopefully we can get some good results.

As a team one of our goals was to reach a quarter-final. We've worked so hard in training, and we know we can win games.

Now it's down to us to come out firing. It's as simple as that.

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

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see also
Roddy Grant column
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Worcester trio in England squad
28 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand in IRB seventh heaven
01 Jun 08 |  Scottish

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