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Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Sevens Scots head Stateside

Scotland Sevens player Roddy Grant

By Roddy Grant
Scotland Sevens player

Fans at the Wellington leg of the IRB Sevens World Series were treated to a weekend of shock results.

Samoa did not record a single win, the USA beat Fiji, and tournament leaders South Africa succumbed to Kenya.

Meanwhile, England beat World Champions New Zealand in the final.

For Scotland, the addition of more experienced players to the squad improved the side's performance, but taking the Shield title still fell short of their expectations.

The circuit has now reached San Diego, and Roddy Grant says that it is important for Scotland to keep their momentum going ahead of the World Cup in Dubai in March.


It was disappointing that we didn't hit our target of reaching the cup quarter-final in Wellington.

Although we won the Shield, we still finished 13th overall and that's not good enough.

However, there are positives: the games we lost were really close, and we won our last two matches so hopefully that's us on a winning roll.

That's good motivation to push us on this week and given ourselves some confidence.

The Kenya game was especially pleasing for us. It came down to how much we wanted the win and how tight we were as a team that pulled us through that one.

I can't remember ever seeing a tournament with so many upsets. Everyone knows that in sevens anyone can beat anyone, but it was really surprising just how many times the underdog won.

We always believe we can beat the big guns - there's no point in playing if you don't.

We left Wellington on Monday afternoon, and after a 13 hour flight we arrived in San Diego - on Monday morning!

It's definitely interesting keeping up with which time zone we're in!

We get advice from the medical staff about how best to deal with jet lag and settle into the time of the country we're arriving in.

I tried to get some sleep on the plane, but on the first night I still woke up at 3am fully alert. It's one of the challenges of travelling, the not-so-glamorous side of rugby.

This is the first time I've been to the United States, and San Diego is a really nice place and the people are very friendly.

We've had use of the USA Olympic Training Centre. It's newly built and they have tracks and fields for every type of event.

The tournament is being played at Petco Park, which is a baseball stadium, and a huge crowd is expected. It's also being televised to an audience of about 300 million people.

Rugby is definitely a growing sport in America. They're very enthusiastic about it. There's also a huge buzz about it among all the teams.

This is the final tournament before the World Cup, but we're very conscious that San Diego is the job in hand, and we've got to do well here before turning our attention to Dubai.

Yes, it's part of the build up, but the only way to get a positive build up is to do well here in America.

On Saturday we'll face England, Samoa and Japan. In Wellington Samoa were missing a couple of key players, but they're back this weekend.

Anyone will tell you that a Samoan team with something to prove is a tough game.

England come off the back of the final in New Zealand. It was an incredible win for them, as they came from 17-0 down, so they'll be on a high.

They'll be three incredibly tough games, and it's crucial we give the performances we know we can.

We want to enjoy ourselves out here and the only way to do that is to win our games.

Then we can start looking forward to next month's World Cup.


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

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see also
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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