Speedster Scott enjoys the ride

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 12:00 07/12/2013
Tasman Makos wing Mitchell Scott
Game time: Tasman Makos wing Mitchell Scott has been travelling the world on the club sevens circuit.

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Mitchell Scott feels like he has been partying since the Makos won their title in October, a "sweet" international club sevens gig providing the ticket.

Playing rugby around the globe, Scott has finally come up for air after arriving back in Nelson. But there is not a lot of down time, now it is straight into a sevens campaign for Tasman.

"Four days after the [Makos] final we were on a plane . . . we were still celebrating," said Scott.

"It is good fun over there. It's a good pay day if you win but, if you don't, it's still a free trip to see those countries and get rugby experience. You get to see the world, I can't really complain. But, now I am back, I will get back into it next week."

Scott was yesterday named in the Tasman Makos sevens training squad that will build towards the national provincial finals in January. He is one of a handful of inclusions, adding to the team that qualified after finishing third at the recent South Island tournament.

Other notable inclusions are Tevita Koloamatangi, Billy Guyton and Bryce Heem with Tasman currently negotiating a release from their Super Rugby franchises and the All Blacks Sevens, respectively. The Nelson Mail understands James Lowe is unavailable to play.

From Nelson College, the Tasman club champion sevens team, Te Puoho Stephens has received the callup.

Nelson College captain Mitchell Hunt has been called into the Auckland sevens squad. Hunt, who is playing for Nelson in the touch national secondary school tournament before taking up a development contract with Auckland, was named in the Condor Sevens tournament team on Sunday.

Scott said it was great to see young guys excelling in the sevens game. He has experienced the global appeal of sevens and the benefits of playing in the burgeoning sevens market first hand. The shortened version of rugby has given him an almost open-ended ticket to travel the world and play.

The champagne still hadn't quite lost its fizz after the Makos lifted the ITM Cup Championship trophy, and yet Scott was already in Singapore with Robbie Malneek and Kieron Fonotia. He played in a showcase sevens tournament for the invitation-based International Penguins Rugby Football Club.

Soon after Singapore, he tripped to Malaysia for a rugby tens tournament for the same team, alongside many of the England sevens team, players such as Simon Edgley and Dan Caprice.

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Then it was on to Dubai for a week where he played sevens for the expat Kiwi-operated Templars in a tournament running alongside the IRB Sevens World Series.

"Yeah, me and [All Blacks Sevens team member] Bryce [Heem] were playing at the same place, so I wandered into the stadium, had a yarn and that."

In tournament pool play, the Templars team was competing alongside many second-tier nations like Germany and B teams from those teams competing in the World Series.

Scott's side beat the England national B side in pool play before eventually losing to South Africa B in the semifinal. Scott said while the tournaments ran side-by-side, they were - in many ways - worlds apart.

"At this stage [sevens] is quite flexible. You can cruise around play in all these tournaments and have it paid for. But I guess, at the next level it gets fairly serious and pretty strict.

"We have fitness, and you are playing quite a lot, but it is nothing like a [Gordon Tietjens] training camp, you can eat what you want."

Scott got in the door at Penguins through Murray Mexted and the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand, while Scott's brother Willis played for the Templars.

After the Tasman sevens crusade, Scott will return to the Penguins early next year, where there is enough invitational sevens action to keep him occupied and in service until the Makos take a bite at the Premiership.

He is booked in to play in Manila and Hong Kong before heading to Europe to play in Amsterdam, London and at the Bournemouth Sevens Festival at the end of May.

Apart from the free travel and festival atmosphere, Scott believes the game-time has been perfect preparation for the national sevens finals. He said he would rather be playing than out throwing the ball around and training down the house.

Still, he has every confidence in his Makos team-mates, and believes Tasman will realise their full potential and make it deep into the tournament.

"It should be quite a good team with some of the boys there," said the pacey wing. "We haven't quite made it in other years. It is about time we got up and made it to the finals."

The 2014 New Zealand National Rugby Sevens Tournament, known as the Bayleys National Sevens, will be played at Rotorua International Stadium, on January 11 and 12.

TRAINING GROUP

Tasman Makos sevens training squad: Daniel Baxter, Te Puoho Stephens, Sione Holani, Dan Hytongue, Tevita Koloamatangi, Bryce Heem, Daniel Van Waas, Willie Umu, James Lash, Mitchell Scott, Ryan Setefano, Billy Guyton, Nanai Naturanga, David Havili, Robbie Malneek, Latham Jones, Kerehama Barrett, Hana Corbett-Burrows, Pelefoti Siaki. Injured: Kaide Whiting, Fletcher Matthews, Trael Joass.

- The Nelson Mail

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