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Jones just happy to find himself in the shop window

BEING out of contract is never a comfortable place to be, but to be then given a chance to showcase your talents in front of an enthusiastic bunch of home supporters has got to offer some level of morale-boosting comfort.

sign here please: Lee Jones, left, and  fellow Scotland squad member Andrew Turnbull with a young fan at training yesterday. Picture: SNS
sign here please: Lee Jones, left, and fellow Scotland squad member Andrew Turnbull with a young fan at training yesterday. Picture: SNS

Which is why this weekend's HSBC World Series Sevens in Glasgow are more than just another tournament for Lee Jones.

The Edinburgh wing was first sent on loan to Glasgow and has now been seconded to the sevens side as they try to build momentum ahead of the Commonwealth Games but he knows he needs to be at his best if he is even to be considered for Glasgow's showcase event later this year.

His four full XVs caps and handful of run-outs at sevens will count for nothing if he cannot win a contract and be able to compete with all his rivals who are training full-time. "For me, everything is still up in the air," he admitted. "Nothing is finalised so I am keen to play as much as possible. With not playing in XVs at the moment, sevens is a good shop window and a good chance for people to see what I am capable of. It is good to be on the field."

All of which makes the weekend's tournament in Scotstoun particularly important. While he has personal points to prove, the team as a whole are desperate to build momentum into the Commonwealth Games and there will be no better opportunity to do that than at their home event in front of their own fans.

"Part of the ethos of the whole squad since it went full-time has been building towards the Commonwealth Games. We have always had an eye on the Games because we knew it was coming at the end of the year. This tournament, because it is at home, puts a bit of focus on it, with the event being staged in Glasgow, it is exciting with it being so close to the Commonwealth Games," Jones said.

"There is a different feel. The first thing is the jet-lag and getting over the travel. When we are away, we spend the first two or three days getting over the journey and having light sessions. This is familiar to us and we know the environment, so that helps. You would not get as much out of a session early in the week, you would have a light run-through to adjust to the new time zone.

"The majority of people there are going to be cheering for us, which gives us a bit of home comfort. It is a good set-up, with the extended stands, but home support is the main things for us."

As has often been the case, Scotland have bolstered their team for their home tournament with Jones being one of three XVs caps drafted in for the event, alongside the 41-cap Nick De Luca, another Edinburgh reject, and 20-cap Richie Vernon, who still expects to play a role in Glasgow's end-of-season play-off push.

"It is good to bring in a bit of experience," said Jones. "They have a high skill set, which is suited to sevens and transfers over easily. It is good for the guys who have been training full-time for these guys to come in and train alongside them; it helps and lifts the bar a wee bit.

"It is different [from fifteens], and the space between them has grown over the years. Countries are breeding these athletes who are fast, strong, quick and massive. It is a tough environment."

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