Scotland 7s steel themselves for big year
Picture: (L-R): James Fleming, John Swanson (Ravenscraig Facilities Manager), Blane Dodds (North Lanarkshire Leisure Chief Executive), Stephen Gemmell, James Logue (Chair of North Lanarkshire Leisure), Neil Ross (Ravenscraig Head of Operations) and Andrew Turnbull.
Scotland 7s have made a major step in their commitment to next year’s Commonwealth Games and Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s after unveiling their first ever permanent base at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility near Motherwell.
The move, which will be a partnership between Scottish Rugby and North Lanarkshire Leisure, will see the abbreviated national team have all their management, physio, strength and conditioning and playing facilities under one roof at the giant indoor sports-centre, which now graces the land of the former steelworks.
With Glasgow 2014 now only 10 months away and the side’s first HSBC Sevens World Series event on the Gold Coast in Australia in just six weeks time (12-13 October), the team can now focus all their energy into game-related preparations.
Scotland 7s head coach, Stephen Gemmell, said: “We’re delighted to have a dedicated base with excellent facilities under one roof, which will prove hugely beneficial to the squad over the next year. This is massive for everyone involved with Scotland 7s.
“We’re grateful to Scottish Rugby and North Lanarkshire Leisure in helping us make the move a reality. With the indoor pitches, we can train under conditions that are closer to that which we face on the World Series circuit, which can only be advantageous to our preparations.
“This is also a major coup ahead of the Commonwealth Games next year in Glasgow. It means we are based closer to the city so can really be involved in all aspects in the build up to the Games”
Scotland 7s player, Michael Fedo, said: “It feels like we have a home now that we can make our own, and having all the facilities we need to train on a daily basis in one place is brilliant.
“I believe this will help us to build on and reinforce the identity of Scotland 7s and will bring us much closer to the excitement as we build towards the Commonwealth Games and next year’s Glasgow 7s.”
North Lanarkshire Leisure Chief Executive, Blane Dodds welcomed the partnership. He said: “We’re delighted The Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility has been chosen as the main indoor training venue for the Scotland 7s squad as they aim for their place in Team Scotland for the Commonwealth Games next year.
“Access to top quality facilities is just one vital component in making sure that the players have prepared to the best of their abilities and we will work closely with Scottish Rugby to play our part in supporting their sevens squad.
“I would encourage any budding player or rugby fan to come down to see the team train and lend their support as these players are fantastic sporting role models, clearly demonstrating what it takes to reach the top of their game in Scotland.”
The Chair of North Lanarkshire Leisure and Convenor of Learning and Leisure Services, Cllr James Logue said: “It is great to see facilities like Ravenscraig playing its part in supporting the national rugby team training to compete in one of the World’s most prestigious international sports competitions.
“Since Ravenscraig was once part of the industrial heartland and heritage of Scotland it is fantastic to see the area come alive once again, but this time with the industry of sporting endeavour, as we hoped it would when the new regional sports facility was first conceived and constructed.”
Scotland 7s’ season, which will culminate at the Commonwealth Games, begins on Saturday 21 September with a FIRA-AER warm-up tournament in Bucharest before the nine leg HSBC Sevens World Series kicks off on Saturday 12 October in Australia.