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Vernon eyeing Scotland Test recall

Richie Vernon hopes selection for Scotland's rugby sevens Commonwealth Games squad will help him win his place back in Vern Cotter's 15-a-side line-up.

The 26-year-old went to the 2011 World Cup with former boss Andy Robinson's squad but a week on Monday will mark the second anniversary of his last full Dark Blues cap.

The Glasgow Warrior has since made the unusual choice to swap positions from flanker to centre in the hope he can put his imposing 6ft 5in frame to more use in the back division.

But while new Scotland coach Cotter takes his first look at the nation's playing reserves on their summer tour of North America, Argentina and South Africa, Vernon has been left behind to prepare for action with Stevie Gemmell's sevens side ahead of the Glasgow 2014 rugby competition on July 26 and 27.

Asked if he believed the Commonwealths could act as a springboard to an international return, the 20-cap Dundonian told Press Association Sport: "I hope so. When I moved position earlier this year my main aim was getting back in that full Scotland team.

"If things go well, playing in the Commonwealths definitely can help me along the way.

"Because sevens is such a fast game, it can sharpen you up and position wise, that extra sharpness and agility can stand me in good stead.

"I know Scott Johnson (Scotland's director of rugby) has had a big hand in helping Stevie Gemmell pick this squad, so hopefully they will be talking about the impact guys can make stepping up from the sevens team."

Vernon has already tasted sevens action this year after he helped the Scots claim fourth-place at the recent Glasgow Sevens at Scotstoun.

And he is ready for the challenge the shorter format offers.

"It will be different in a lot of ways," he said. "Sevens has been described as rugby under a microscope.

"It tests you in a different way to the full game. It's such a pressure environment because you know you only have 14 minutes to show what you can do.

"Any mistakes can be costly in that environment so every single facet of your game has to be sharp.

"It will be hugely challenging, but also hugely exciting at the same time."

The Scots will have a tough task qualifying for the knock-out stage after they were drawn in Pool A alongside New Zealand - who have won all four Commonwealth competitions to date - Canada and Barbados.

But Vernon said: "We're confident we can get out of the group and our aim is to medal. We showed at Scotstoun what we can do against the big teams.

"We just need to do it on a more consistent basis.

"New Zealand are the best side in the world and it is a tough group, but if we can get out of it then we will feel that is the hard part done."


From Belfast Telegraph