Scotland 7s have reached the Cup quarter-finals at the South Africa 7s, the third leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series, this afternoon in Port Elizabeth.
This is second time they have qualified for the top-tier competition in as many weekends, having managed the same feat last Friday (5 December) in Dubai.
They will play Argentina, their Plate final opponents, from the desert, tomorrow at 10.41am (GMT, live on Sky Sports).
It was a mixed day for the Scots after only winning one game against France, 19-12, but keeping Canada (12-14) and Fiji (12-19) close enough that points difference played into their hands, come close-of-play, with the French and the Canadians only recording a single win too.
This is the first time the Scots have qualified for two consecutive Cup quarter-finals, since Wellington and Las Vegas in 2013.
Head Coach, Calum MacRae, said: “Today was filled with a lot of character in some of our performances.
“It was a frustrating tie against Canada having broken the line two or three times and not converted those opportunities into points.
“On a positive note though we were creating scoring chances.
“Against France, we identified areas we had to work harder in, such as our work rate off the ball. The players delivered on that and scored some good tries.
“Going into the game with Fiji we knew we needed a massive defensive effort to contain their running threats, and in that respect we had one of our best performances to date.
“Also, when we did get the ball we showed we could score tries against quality teams like Fiji.
“Today’s performances were a real squad effort.
“These players are working hard for each other, they dug deep and showed the character you’d expect from a Scottish team.”
One of the highlights for Scotland today was Damien Hoyland scoring his first HSBC Sevens World Series points. He scored two tries, one against Canada and a second against Fiji.
That score was the one that ensured Scotland’s points difference was enough to qualify for tomorrow’s Cup competition.
Against Canada, losing Mark Robertson (dead leg) and Colin Shaw (concussion) to injury, early on, was a blow.
Canada opened the scoring after five minutes, when Conor Trainor touched down. The Scots were then unable to fight back and take the win, with the match ending 14-12.
Scotland’s points came first from Hoyland and then Lee Jones, with Colin Gregor adding the extras to the first try.
Despite losing an early try to France, scored by Virimi Vakatawa, Scotland were able to build enough of a lead to secure their first win of the tournament.
James Eddie scored a brace on either side of the break, while James Johnstone scored on the stroke of half-time. Gregor and Scott Wight kicked one conversion each.
Julien Candelon scored a second French try at the death, but by that point Scotland had done enough to win.
In their last match, Fiji were looking confident, particularly in the first period, where they scored all their points. Their scorers were Jasa Veremalau with a brace and Osea Ramodi Kolinsau, with a try and two conversions.
However, Scotland showed impressive character in this match and their defence was excellent.
They had two well worked tries, first Scott Riddell touched down under the posts and then Hoyland crossed in the corner after Joseva Nayacavou stole ball at the breakdown, and managed to offload to his support man who was in space.
Following, the concussion Colin Shaw sustained this morning in the Canada match; he will take no further part in this weekend’s tournament.
Scotland 12-14 Canada
Tries: Lee Jones and Damien Hoyland
Conversion: Colin Gregor
Starting team: Scott Riddell, James Eddie, Mark Robertson, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Scott Wight CAPTAIN and Lee Jones.
Replacements: Colin Shaw (3 mins), Nyle Godsmark (6 mins), Joseva Nayacavou (8 mins), Gavin Lowe (10 mins) and Damien Hoyland (11 mins).
Scotland 19-12 France
Tries: James Eddie (2) and James Johnstone
Conversions: Colin Gregor and Scott Wight
Starting team: Scott Riddell, James Eddie, Nyle Godsmark, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Scott Wight CAPTAIN and Lee Jones.
Replacements: Joseva Nayacavou, Damien Hoyland (both 10 mins), Gavin Lowe (12 mins), Mark Robertson and Colin Shaw (not used).
Scotland 12-19 Fiji
Tries: Scott Riddell and Gavin Lowe
Conversion: Colin Gregor
Starting team: Scott Riddell, James Eddie, Nyle Godsmark, James Johnstone, Colin Gregor, Damien Hoyland and Scott Wight CAPTAIN.
Replacements: Joseva Nayacavou (8 mins), Gavin Lowe (10 mins), Nyle Godsmark (14 mins), Colin Shaw and Lee Jones (not used).