Hat-trick try hero Andrew Turnbull put Scotland Sevens through to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Sevens Bowl competition and racked up a century of tries for his country in the process.
The Scots started brightly in both of their crucial matches against Gold Coast Plate winners, Wales, and Cup semi-finalist Australia but were ultimately undone by robust comebacks in each case.
Then, in match three, a Turnbull inspired win over Canada put the side through as the top-placed Bowl quarter-final qualifier where they’ll face the United Arab Emirates tomorrow (Saturday, 6.24am GMT).
Turnbull, said: “I’m delighted to reach the landmark which has been hanging over me as I’ve approached it. A lot of credit needs to go to the rest of players in the team – Scott Riddell made a try-saving tackle that could have ended this game.
“Despite putting in top notch performances in the opening two matches we knew that, having lost, we’d be in the Bowl so we were naturally down. To win our last game against Canada is a massive boost to the team mentally, as well as with regards our seeding in the knockouts.
“Now we’re focussed on reaching the Bowl final and hopefully going one better than last weekend to lift the trophy.”
Turnbull is one of six full-time contracted sevens players and believes he is reaping the benefits of focussing all his energy on the abbreviated game.
He added: “It’s made a huge difference to me. I know that when I come out to a tournament I’m in the best possible condition and my fitness is tailored to this type of game.
“I’m really enjoying it and has been a real boost to me.”
The Scots suffered comeback defeat to Wales for the second successive tournament after Turnbull put the side in the lead late in the first half.
With the conversion made the Scots were looking in good shape to push on but a pair of converted tries after the interval, from Tom Prydie and Will Price, at either end of the second period, secured the Welsh win (14-7).
The loss meant that Scotland went into the Australia match needing a win to secure a place in the cup quarter-final.
What ensued was a fantastic illustration of high-tempo sevens rugby with the Scots setting the pace – a James Fleming try and Colin Gregor conversion the difference at half time following a late, unconverted score, from Jesse Parahi (7-5).
A pair of tries from Con Foley and Hamish Angus, the first after just 30 seconds, took and extended an Australian advantage and put them outwith scoring range with two minutes left (17-7).
Scotland’s Peter Horne hit back with a minute to go but hopes of snatching the match were ended by Aussie, Lindsay Crook (24-12).
For the first time in the day it was not the Scots who opened the scoring but their Pool opponents, Canada, with a John Moonlight try and Nathan Hirayama conversion.
Turnbull then raced across the line twice before the interval to put the Scots in front but a converted try from Canadian, Sean White, recaptured the lead for the Cannucks.
Then, in true show stopping fashion, Turnbull then crossed the line to complete his hat-trick with less than a minute to spare, confirming the win and his 100th try in the HSBC Sevens World Series competition.
Scotland 7s squad: Adam Ashe, Mark Cairns, James Eddie, Michael Fedo, James Fleming, Colin Gregor, Kerr Gossman, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Peter Horne, Ross Miller, Scott Riddell