The Scotland Sevens programme for 2016/17 has welcomed two additional players to form the core-playing group for the season ahead, with the contracted squad increasing from seven to nine.
Former Edinburgh duo Dougie Fife and Nick McLennan – both who were regular features for Scotland Sevens on last year’s World Sevens Series – have joined the squad on a full-time basis for the forthcoming season.
The seven players in last season’s Sevens squad – Jamie Farndale, James Fleming, James Johnstone, Gavin Lowe, Scott Riddell, Mark Robertson and Scott Wight – have all been re-signed to the programme.
Scotland Sevens head coach Calum MacRae said: “Following the strong performances that both Nick and Dougie put in on the Series last year, it’s great getting the opportunity to work with both players on a full-time basis.
“They add pedigree to the core squad with their attributes as players and have the work ethic required to excel.
“Nick is a quality half back but also has the ability to play a number of positions effectively across the back line in sevens. In addition to this, he has the big engine required to perform well during a tournament weekend. His performances grew over the course of last Series and I looking forward to him stepping up again this year.
“Dougie demonstrated why he is an international winger when he came in the back end of last series with the tries he scored at crucial times in ties. He is an outstanding athlete and will be add attacking fire power to the team.
Fife, 26, who has six full international caps with Scotland, played at five events on last year’s circuit, and proved himself to be an adept finisher in the abbreviated game in scoring 12 tries and 60 points.
The wing crossed the whitewash in extra-time to score the match-winning try as Scotland defeated South Africa to win their first ever World Sevens Series Cup competition at Twickenham last season.
He said: “I was delighted when I was presented with the opportunity to come into the Scotland 7s set-up.
“I loved every second I played last year and winning at Twickenham was obviously a huge achievement for everyone involved.
“The chance to come into this environment is something I’m really excited about, and I can’t wait to get underway with the new season tournaments.”
McLennan, 28, competed in every Series leg in the 2015/16 season, playing a remarkable 53 matches for Scotland. The playmaker scored 28 points last season through four tries and four conversions.
He said: “After enjoying the Series last year – playing at all stops on the roster – I’m delighted to join the set-up on a full-time basis.
“There’s no better way to travel the world than doing something you love, so I’m excited about what’s to come in the season ahead.
“We ended last season on a real high in winning the Cup at Twickenham, so we’ll be looking to build on that and it gives us a lot of confidence knowing we can achieve something of that magnitude.
“I think the world has taken notice of us and know that we can compete with anyone; that belief exists in the squad, too.”
MacRae added: “It’s been an extended preparation period which has tested the players focus and work ethic. Their attitude has been excellent. It’s about putting that work into action now, and the unseen hours need to come out in the shape of strong performances. We are ready for the challenge ahead.”
Scotland Sevens contracted players for the 2016/17 season: Jamie Farndale, Dougie Fife, James Fleming, James Johnstone, Gavin Lowe, Nick McLennan, Scott Riddell, Mark Robertson, Scott Wight