Comm Games: No mixed loyalties for Hastings

By Nik Simon in Glasgow

Gavin Hastings has fond memories of New Zealand but he won't be cheering them on at the Games. Photo / Getty
Gavin Hastings has fond memories of New Zealand but he won't be cheering them on at the Games. Photo / Getty

Gavin Hastings has fond memories of his time playing for Auckland University but the Scottish legend will not be cheering on New Zealand at this weekend's sevens tournament in Glasgow.

Scotland and New Zealand have been drawn in the same pool for the competition at Ibrox Stadium, the home of Rangers Football Club, where the hosts will field a team reinforced with international stars from the XVs game.

Stuart Hogg, Sean Lamont and Richie Vernon have all been called up and, while Sir Gordon Tietjens opted for sevens specialists, Hastings is hoping the trio can help fire Scotland to a medal.

"I won't have too much of a soft spot for New Zealand, if the truth be told," Hastings told the Herald. "We have some good players in Hogg, Lamont and Vernon. Can they adapt? That's the big question.

"But I'm pleased Scotland have made the decision and I think it has given us a better chance of success. I hope they do themselves justice and get in with a shout of a medal."

New Zealand will be defending their proud unbeaten record in Commonwealth Games sevens competition.

Tietjens's side will feel the wrath of the home crowd when they take on the hosts, but Hastings was full of praise for the Kiwis as they bid for the fifth consecutive Commonwealth gold.

"You've got to admire the New Zealand sevens squad," said Hastings. ".It seems that every tournament they are bringing in young guys that are quicker and more skilful than the guys they have replaced. It just seems to be a never-ending talent pool of great rugby players.

"I went to Auckland to learn from the New Zealanders about what made them so good. We won the club championship and beat Marist in the final with Zinzan Brooke and John Kirwan. You train the way you play; there's no mucking around.

"Someone once told me that you earn the respect from a New Zealander on the rugby field. From my time playing over there with Scotland, I can stand shoulder to shoulder and look any Kiwi in the eye and say; 'We gave you a good name'."

- NZ Herald

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