Borderers boost national squads

FOUR Borders rugby players have made it into the Scotland 7s squad bound for Hong Kong next weekend.

Eighteen players rather than the usual 12 make up manager Stephen Gemmell’s extended squad who will travel out to Hong Kong for the sixth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series next weekend (22-24 March) and the HKFC Tens (20-21 March).

All players named at this stage will be in contention for the World Series, Gemmell naming a 12/6 split for the two events, respectively, early next week. In the tens competition, the players will compete for the Scottish Barbarians.

Making his first trip with the squad is Jed-Forest’s and Scotland 7s elite development player (EDP) Lewis Young while Mark Robertson (EDP), Callum Anderson and Darren Gillespie (currently based in New Zealand) are also included in the party.

Elsewhere, Scotland Club XV head coach, Phil Leck, has made two changes to his starting team for Friday’s match against their French counterparts in Bourgoin-Jallieu (kick-off 6pm, UK time).

The team involves nine Borders players with Melrose’s Fraser Thomson returning from injury to come in at full back.

Lee Millar (Gala), Robin Hislop (ex-Langholm), Ross Miller and Andrew Nagle (both Melrose) all start, with Craig Robertson, Luke Pettie and Gary Graham (all Gala) and Gary Holborn (Melrose) on the bench.

After winning the Dalriada Cup, against Ireland, for the first time since its introduction in 2011, Scotland Club XV will travel to France eager to record a second consecutive victory. If they do win, it would be the first time they have won both their games in one season.

Leck said: “We want to promote continuity in this squad and we have selected players on what they can offer our gameplan. Last Friday the lads who came off the bench put in a fantastic effort.

“We have done some analysis on our game and are hoping for more possession this weekend, but all in all we’re going to the south of France to win and I hope we can play and defend in the same way as last Friday.”

On the home front this week Selkirk rugby board has announced its new 1st XV coaching team for season 2013/2014.

Long-serving head coach Brian Cassidy is stepping down at the end of the current campaign, and will be replaced in the post by Alistair Dickson, at present the senior team’s backs coach.

Ewen Robbie is to continue as forwards coach, and will be assisted next season by former Scotland & British Lions player Iain Paxton, who is also the club’s development officer.

This weekend, the Souters travel to Biggar for a rescheduled fixture, while Jed-Forest could do Hawick a favour by grounding Glasgow Hawks at Riverside Park.