Former Sevens captain to coach Scotland women
Scottish Rugby has announced its first Scotland Women Sevens squad, to be coached by former Scotland Sevens captain and Glasgow Warriors back row forward, Scott Forrest.
Under Forrest's guidance, trials for the squad have been taking place in Scotland and London (Exiles) over the past four weeks and the aim is to qualify for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow.
This is Forrest's first foray into coaching, after long-term injury forced him to hang up his boots following the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and his subsequent appointment as rugby development officer in Inverclyde.
"Going into Sevens coaching just made sense because I've been involved in the game for so long," Forrest said. "This opportunity came up and I was really excited. It's the first time I've worked with a women's squad - although in my job as Development Officer I do development work with girls' teams - and they've been great.
"Although they haven't played a lot of Sevens, the girls are very open and love to ask questions, which is great for a coach. The difference between males and females playing the game, at the moment, is the pace and skill level but, in terms of the game, the structure is exactly the same."
The squad will play in a number of tournaments prior to competing in a European FIRA-AER tournament in Belgium on 9-10 June, where they must finish in first or second position to proceed to the Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifying final in Moscow on 30 June - 1 July.
"I've played Sevens for quite a long time and one thing I've learnt is that on any one day, any team can beat any other team. I've found that out the hard way sometimes, but other times we've beaten teams that we were never expected to. If you do a good job and do the preparation right, then you really can beat anyone. That's the beauty of Sevens - you do get upsets!"
With the imminent arrival of the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens to the west of Scotland, Forrest is a great supporter of the event's move to a new location.
"I think it needed that, to freshen it up a bit and obviously the new facilities at Scotstoun will be great - with 15,000 people each day the atmosphere will be outstanding which, as players, is brilliant, especially when Scotland play and the crowd really get behind you. That number of supporters filling Scotstoun will be fantastic."
The Scotland Women's Sevens squad is below, with the remaining two places to be announced following the Great Britain Students Sevens trials on 28 April in London.
Susie Brown (Richmond), Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars), Sarah Dixon (Stirling County), Tess Forsberg (Richmond), Megan Gaffney (Murrayfield Wanderers), Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers), Steph Johnstone (RHC Cougars), Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), Annabel Sergeant (Murrayfield Wanderers), Sarah Sexton (Murrayfield Wanderers), Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Hazel Tod (Cartha QPR).
Ireland unveil new structures
Scotland are not alone in hoping to qualify for RWC Sevens 2013 with the Irish Rugby Football Union announcing structures for a women's Sevens team, announcing a 21-strong squad to take part in a training and competition programme over the next 13 weeks.
Newly appointed coach John Skurr saw players from Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster and the Exiles take part in a talent screening day earlier this month and has selected a number of players who played for Ireland in this year's RBS Women's Six Nations, including standout back row Joy Neville and Ireland's most capped player Lynne Cantwell.
The Ireland Women's Sevens squad is below, with one place to be filled following a series of weekend camps in the rest of April.
Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exiles), Nicole Caughey (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Amy Davis (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Jeannette Feighery (UL Bohemians/Munster), Shannon Houston (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Ashling Hutchings (UL Bohemians/Munster), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster), Claire Keohane (UL Bohemians/Munster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht), Claire Molloy (Bristol RFC/Exiles/Connacht),
Jacqueline Mulligan (Sligo/Connacht), Jennifer Murphy (Richmond/Exiles), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster), Áine Ní Chatháin (Garda RFC/Leinster), Mollie O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster), Laura O'Mahony (Tralee/Munster), Beth O'Brien (Oxford University/Exiles), Rachael Potter (Saracens/Exiles), Meadhbh Westwood (Waterloo/Exiles)/