HAVING written a lot about the Scottish Rugby Union’s disgraceful decision to join our national Seven into a Team GB for the HSBC World Sevens Series, along comes an occasion to prove the folly of such nonsense.

The Rugby World Cup Sevens will take place this weekend in Cape Town in South Africa and Scotland’s men – our women are not taking part in the simultaneous Women’s World Cup Sevens - go there with no chance of winning but with the right spirit of competing for the sake of the game which, as I constantly remind you, was invented in Scotland.

I just hope our men forget the insult that World Rugby and the SRU have inflicted on them and go out there and prove them all wrong – that Scotland can and must be part of the Sevens Series in our own right.

Truly the SRU has sold our birthright for a mess of pottage. And here’s the hypocrisy of the SRU – they wanted to host the 2022 World Cup at one time. Thank goodness they didn’t, given the timing of the announcement of Team GB.

Looking ahead to the World Cup, there will be three days of fast and frantic action, though only four teams can realistically win the trophy. It will be one of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or Fiji that will triumph on Sunday with none of the European teams likely to make an impact. Certainly not Scotland who finished a lowly 13th in the latest World Series.

It’s because we did so poorly in the Series that we are having to play a preliminary round match on Friday against Jamaica, who finished in 19th place. They have speedsters and will be dangerous but if Scotland don’t beat Jamaica then the entire squad and their coaches should be on the next flight home.

The men’s 12-strong squad is pretty decent, and captain Jamie Farndale might end up one of the players of the tournament even if his side do not make the final stages. Only he and Harvey Elms have previous experience of World Cup Sevens which shows why Scotland need to develop a Seven that can compete at this level, not join a British effort, even if World Rugby and the International Olympic Committee did their Machiavellian worst to bring about Team GB before the Paris Olympics in 2024.

I will be writing more about Scotland’s Sevens history and will show how the SRU crippled some decent Sevens initiatives over the years, but in the meantime we must wish Farndale, coach Ciaran Beattie and the squad all the best, with a special word for former West of Scotland and GHA player Aaron Puerwal who will actually make his Scotland Sevens debut in the World Cup. Not a bad stage to make your start on.

I’ve named the four teams that I think can win, but having received some information on how much the host nation’s squad has been planning and preparing for this tournament, I am going to suggest that South Africa will win it.

Meanwhile I want to pay a personal tribute to an old friend and colleague Davie Doak of my old club Lismore RFC. Davie is setting out on his 50th season as a front row forward for the club that plays at the Inch Park on the south side of Edinburgh. Yes, you read that correctly – his 50th season.

I don’t know if that’s a record and I have heard of other men playing into their sixties – his Lismore colleague Alastair Jack for one – but to play in 50 consecutive seasons is an incredible achievement. He recalled that his first match was against a Boroughmuir XV back in 1972. Lismore got a thumping “but the pints after made everything good.”

The 50th anniversary of his debut for Lismore took place at the weekend, and his indefatigable and long-suffering wife Marja organised a wee get-together for as many of his former colleagues as could make it. Sadly I couldn’t get there but I’m told a fab day was had by all, with Lismore’s 1st XV beating Gala YM into the bargain.

Nicknamed the Tumble Drier – I’ve forgotten why – Davie is certainly the daddy of the club, and a finer gentleman you could not meet.

I particularly remember Davie as a stalwart of the Lismore Lepers, the club’s social XV, who are rightly famed for their sterling attitude to the glorious game of rugby union. Pass the pre-match port, Pooh-Bah (it’s a private joke but the port was real!)

Marja Doak has also been a long-serving member behind the scenes at Lismore, and it’s people like Davie and Marja who are the real strength of Scottish rugby. They have given their time and effort literally for decades, and never counted the cost. Just amazing people.

Dave posted a wee note on Facebook, saying: “There’s been good times, not so good times, but I’ve no regrets.” That’s the spirit Mr and Mrs Doak.