Scotland 7s will play in the final leg of the FIRA-AER GP European Sevens Series this weekend in Odense, Denmark (Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July).
The Scots start against the host nation, Denmark (12.34pm BST) before facing Germany (3.40pm BST) and England (6.46pm BST) in Pool A on Saturday, before moving into the knockout stages on Sunday.
As the finishing position this weekend will have a bearing on their seeding for the Rugby World Cup qualifier in two weeks time, head coach Graham Shiel has decided to reintroduce his professional players to the squad.
Returning to the fold are the side’s top try scorers, Andrew Turnbull and James Fleming, as well as Byron McGuigan, who has been released by Glasgow Warriors for the weekend, and sevens specialist Scott Riddell who will captain the side.
Michael Maltman and Russell Weir will also be making their Scotland 7s debuts.
Shiel said: “We have taken the opportunity to reintroduce our core players back to the abbreviated game to gain match time ahead of the Rugby World Cup qualifier in Portugal in a fortnight.
“It’s great to have Scott captain the side. He is one of our most experienced players and has captained the team before, in season 2010/11. He was excellent then. He has also supported Colin Gregor last season and he understands sevens implicitly and relishes the challenge to lead.
“Furthermore, we appreciate Glasgow Warriors’ support with Byron McGuigan who was involved on the World Series circuit last year.
“I’m also looking forward to seeing Russell and Michael perform in an international sevens context for the first time. This is a chance for them to start their season off well and learn more sevens ahead of the World Cup qualifier and coming HSBC Sevens World Series.”
Scotland 7s have also secured the experience of former Glasgow Warriors winger Colin Shaw on a one year full-time contract and have agreed an arrangement with London Scottish for full-back Jim Thompson to play and train with the squad until after the World Cup qualifier. Both players will be involved this weekend.
Shaw said: “I’m really excited to be back with the sevens and looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
“It’s a great year to be involved with the possibility of a Sevens Rugby World Cup in 2013 and the Commonwealth Games in 2014, so I’m hoping to get stuck in and help the team achieve their potential.”
Scotland 7s team to compete in Odense, Denmark on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July: Michael Fedo (Team Northumbria), Struan Dewar (Scotland 7s), Michael Maltman (Scotland 7s), Rory Hughes (Scotland 7s EDP / Glasgow Hawks), Scott Riddell (Stewart’s Melville) (captain), Colin Shaw (Scotland 7s), Jack Ferguson (Watsonians), Russell Weir (Scotland 7s), Jim Thompson (London Scottish), Byron McGuigan (Glasgow Warriors), James Fleming (Scotland 7s), Andrew Turnbull (Scotland 7s)