The Scots teams who won at Twickenham in 2016 and 2017 have given us belief - Sam Pecqueur

Scotland had success in Hong Kong and they will be hoping for more joy at London 7s
©World Rugby

When Scotland Sevens won at Twickenham back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, it took the team’s expectations on the World Series circuit to a new level.

In 2017/18, a number of new players came into the mix under then new head coach John Dalziel.

One of those players was Sam Pecqueur - and the winger/forward has not looked back as his journey in the abbreviated game goes from strength to strength.

Having come through Trinity Academy and the BATS rugby programme in his hometown of Edinburgh, Pecqueur, now 24, then went onto play for Edinburgh Accies for three seasons.

He learnt a lot under then head coach Simon Cross - the former Edinburgh Rugby back-row - at Raeburn Place while in the first year of those three campaigns, he also completed a college course based around rugby.

“I loved playing rugby with BATS - which brings young players from Broughton, Accies, Trinity and further afield together - and the natural move after that was to play senior rugby with Accies.

“Simon Cross and the other coaches there at the time were really good to me and helped me a lot, but then the chance came to move to Melrose and I couldn’t turn that down.

“I knew [Melrose coach] Rob Chrystie from the rugby course I had done at college and John Dalziel was also there at the time. It is a big club and at the time we put together a good squad of young, hungry guys and we had some success.

“Then towards the end of the 2016/17 season, John was heading off to become the Scotland Sevens head coach and he asked me if I would like to be a part-time player with the squad.

“I jumped at that chance, was involved in a tough a pre-season and really threw myself into it.”

And the hard work Pecqueur, whose older brother Josh has played sevens for Cyprus, put in paid off as he was selected as 13th man for the Dubai Sevens in November/December of that year.

He then got his chance due to an injury to play the following week in Cape Town and he even managed to bag a couple of tries.

Pecqueur had the rest of the World Series circuit on his mind, but a broken leg stopped him in his tracks.

“It was frustrating, but from that moment on my goal with the medics and everyone else around me was to try and make it back for the World Cup in San Francisco last summer.

“I managed to do that and I am so glad because what a setting it was in the baseball stadium, a great experience.”

Pecqueur’s promise from his year as a part-time player earned him a full-time contract ahead of 2018/19 and, to date, he has played in all eight World Series events.

Scotland go into the Twickenham event on Saturday and Sunday - which is followed by the finale in France next weekend - sitting 10th in the standings (62 points) with the USA out in front on 145 points.

On Saturday they are in a pool with England, New Zealand and Ireland and Pecqueur said: “We are excited to be playing at Twickenham.

“The Scots teams who won at Twickenham in 2016 and 2017 gave us belief, now we want our own success, we know it will be tough, but we just have to focus on our own game and see where it takes us.”

The squad will be led by interim head coach Scott Forrest in London as Dalziel will become Glasgow Warriors forwards coach in the summer and, as a result, stepped down from his role with the squad after the eighth leg of the World Series in Singapore.

“I owe a lot to John Dalziel,” Pecqueur explained.

“He gave me a chance to get into this sevens environment back in the summer of 2017 and it is great to see that a lot of the guys who came through at that stage are now core members of this squad.

“John created a great environment in the squad and gave me a lot of confidence in my own abilities. This year we have had some highs and some lows, but I think in general we are in a great place to build for the future.

”With one eye on that future, Forrest has handed former Scotland age-grade caps Kaleem Barreto and Kyle Rowe their international sevens debuts at Twickenham.

And Pecqueur has backed the duo to thrive.

“Kaleem is such a hard worker, he just gets everywhere on the pitch and never stops while Kyle has been brilliant for Ayr this season,” he concluded.

Scotland Sevens squad for Twickenham:

Ally Miller

Nyle Godsmark

Alec Coombes

Robbie Fergusson (CC)

Tom Brown

Glenn Bryce

Jamie Farndale  

Kaleem Barreto

Sam Pecqueur

Gavin Lowe

Max McFarland

Kyle Rowe

Ross McCann

Fixtures for Saturday, May 25:

11.42am: Scotland v New Zealand

3.10pm: Scotland v England

5.54pm: Scotland v Ireland