THE confirmation that both of Scotland’s rugby sevens teams have secured their spot at next summer’s Commonwealth Games came as welcome news, particularly for the women who will making their debut at the Games having failed to secure a spot in Gold Coast four years ago. 

And while the focus on Birmingham 2022 will be intense over the next nine months, already there is the awareness from Scotland’s top sevens players that the Games could be used as a springboard for Olympic success. 

Scotland’s women’s coach has particular interest in ensuring his players show exactly what they can do in Birmingham harbouring, as he does, a vested interest in the quality of the GB squad with the 2024 Olympics now less than three years away. 

Scott Forrest occupies a dual role as both GB and Scotland sevens head coach and having led his side to fourth place at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, has seen first-hand the importance of success at major sporting events. And he hopes the Scottish women, many of whom are young, up-and-coming players, can make a mark in a similar way over the coming months. 

“Obviously, I was out in Tokyo but the exposure that the team seem to get back home was great,” said Forrest.  

“It was a really good group of role models who could inspire the next generation; that was a message that the GB squad were trying to push in terms of its about more than just medals, its also about inspiring the next generation.  

“I think that there's a real opportunity here (for the Scotland players) to build some momentum going into the Commonwealth Games and showcase exactly what they can do.” 

While Forrest has yet to name his squad for Birmingham, likely to be included is 20-year-old Shona Campbell, who was part of the wider GB squad for Tokyo 2020 but missed out on making the final cut for the Olympics themselves. 

Campbell was a netball internationalist in her teenage years but having returned to her first love of rugby as a seventeen-year-old, her progression through the ranks has defied her own expectations. 

“This is way above anything I thought would happen when I came back,” says Campbell, who won her first Scotland cap earlier this year. 

“To be at the Commonwealth Games would be huge for me personally, and for all the girls.  

“It’ll be a real chance for all of us to play on the world stage and really show the effort we've put in.” 

At the most recent Commonwealth Games, the men’s side equalled their best-ever finish of sixth and while the men’s tournament is never short of heavy-hitters with the likes of New Zealand, South Africa and England regularly sending impressive looking squads, Scotland coach Ciaran Beattie is optimistic that his side will make their presence felt in Birmingham next summer. 

“You always speak internally about your goals, although it’s still a while away,” the former sevens internationalist said. 

“Our best-ever finish was sixth so I think we're looking towards at least matching that, if not climbing above it.” 

Beattie will almost certainly have captain, Jamie Farndale, leading the line in Birmingham and having narrowly missed out on Olympic selection this summer, the Edinburgh man is keen to put that disappointment behind him and channel his energy into ensuring Scotland put in a strong performance in Birmingham. 

“It was tough missing Tokyo - I felt like I’d done enough so it did hit me pretty hard,” he said of his omission from the GB team. 

“I took a bit of time to process it and actually, coming from GB back into Scotland and looking towards this Commonwealth Games was really good for me, it’s really exciting.”