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Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Thursday, 28 October 2010 11:08 UK

Graham Shiel takes over as Scotland Sevens head coach


Shiel harbours Olympic dreams

Former Scotland centre Graham Shiel has replaced Stephen Gemmell as Scotland Sevens head coach.

Gemmell has become Scottish Rugby's head of player development.

Shiel, who played 18 times for his country, said: "I've been fortunate enough to have played at the top level throughout my career.

"But I always wanted to continue that relationship with the game through coaching and now, to be named as head coach, is a fantastic honour."

Shiel played for Border Reivers and Edinburgh Rugby before becoming player/coach at Stewart's Melville then joining Edinburgh as academy manager.

This role offers a fantastic, once-in-a-life-time opportunity

Scotland Sevens head coach Graham Shiel

In 2006, he moved to the national academy, where he was assistant coach of Scotland Under-19s in addition to his player development duties.

Shiel's debut as sevens head coach will be the opening tournament of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Dubai, where Scotland will face Commonwealth Games silver and bronze medallists Australia and South Africa, as well as 2009 Dubai Shield winners Russia, in Pool C.

"This role offers a fantastic, once-in-a-life-time opportunity to coach one of Scotland's top representative sides on the world stage," he said.

"We've had recent first-hand experience of South Africa and pushed them very close. We'll take a lot of confidence from that going in to Dubai and will look to back up that performance.

"Australia were probably the team of the 2009/2010 series based on the improvements they made and their performance, which culminated in a successful run of games in London, Edinburgh and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. They are very strong at the moment.

"Obviously Russia are no slouches, we played them in London and they are a pretty good outfit. They haven't had the benefit of the Commonwealth Games, but I'm sure they'll come very well prepared."

The Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens begins the eight-event World Series, which also visits South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland, climaxing at Murrayfield on 28-29 May 2011.

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see also
Scots Sevens coach under pressure
06 Feb 10 |  Scottish
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment

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