Baa-Baas to play South for the first time – in Bill’s name

KELSO, UNITED KINGDOM - 2 March 2011: 'Rugby'South Squad to Face Barbarians in October'Former Barbarian John Jeffrey'at home near Kelso'Proudly wearing his Barbarians Jersey, but will be supporting the South team to play at Mansfield Park, Hawick  in October''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)
KELSO, UNITED KINGDOM - 2 March 2011: 'Rugby'South Squad to Face Barbarians in October'Former Barbarian John Jeffrey'at home near Kelso'Proudly wearing his Barbarians Jersey, but will be supporting the South team to play at Mansfield Park, Hawick in October''(Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)

LEGENDARY rugby club the Barbarians will visit the Borders to take on the South of Scotland this autumn, in aid of the Bill McLaren Foundation.

The match will take place at Mansfield Park, Hawick, on Tuesday, October 11.

It will be the first time the South team have played a match since their revival after 12 years against Northumberland at the end of 2009.

The game is the first of a number of major announcements involving the South of Scotland which will be made over the coming weeks, and the thought of a game between the two famous teams will no doubt water the mouths of all rugby fans.

One of the South’s greatest sons, John Jeffrey, is Scotland’s representative on the Barbarians committee.

He told TheSouthern: “I was very fortunate to play for both teams and am really excited about the first-ever match between the two.

“The Barbarians are looking to select a strong, attractive team to entertain the crowd at Mansfield Park, and like the South they are proud and do not like to lose so it promises to be an absolute cracker of a match.

“The supporters are in for a real treat, as well as contributing to such a worthwhile cause as the Bill McLaren Foundation.”

Barbarians president Micky Steele-Bodger added: “It’s a great honour for the Barbarians to be invited to play a part in this very significant and worthy initiative.

“It goes without saying that Bill McLaren represented all that is best in rugby union and we would like to think that his values mirrored our own, not least in terms of the spirit that the game should be played.

“We also view the fixture in October as a welcome opportunity for the Barbarians to return to Scotland and play in a real rugby community.

“We are looking forward to the occasion and the match, and fully support the work of the Bill McLaren Foundation.”

Foundation secretary, John Thorburn, said the game would be a spectacle for supporters.

He added: “It gives the best of the Borders rugby players the opportunity to play against the most famous rugby invitation side in the world.

“It is great testimony to the name of Bill McLaren that the Barbarians will be in Scotland in October and playing in Bill’s home town.”

Tickets will be priced at £10 for stand seats and £5 for admission to the ground, and will go on sale in April.

The Barbarians were last in the Borders to celebrate the Border League centenary in 2001 when they played a Border League XV and before that they took on Melrose at The Greenyards to commemorate their 100th year.

They have also played at the Melrose Sevens, but to see these two famous rugby teams come together will be a unique occasion and a tremendous opportunity for people from the Borders and beyond to come together and support such a worthwhile cause.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if this match attracted the largest crowd for a rugby match this century in memory of the late, great Bill McLaren?

More information on the Bill McLaren Foundation can be found at www.billmclaren foundation.co.uk

z SOUTH African side Hamilton return to this year’s Melrose Sevens (April 9), attempting to defend the title.

They will be joined by New Zealand Sevens champions Waikato and new side Hong Kong Scottish. Falkirk will also make their debut at the Greenyards tournament.

Tickets, priced at £20, are now on sale from www.melroserugbyshop.co.uk or direct from the club.