Top international sides are set to take part in the Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens on April 8 next year.
They include teams from Western Provence (RSA), Sweden, Co-optimists and Harlequins.
Melrose RFC has also confirmed the continued sponsorship from Aberdeen Asset Management as main sponsor for the 2017 event.
Scottish clubs appearing, along with the hosts, will include Gala, Hawick, Jed-Forest, Kelso, Peebles, Selkirk, Ayr, Boroughmuir, Currie, Heriot’s, Watsonians, GHA, Falkirk, Dundee Rugby, Glasgow Hawks, Marr, Edinburgh Accies, Stewart’s Melville and Stirling County.
Trevor Jackson, president of Melrose RFC, said: “I am delighted to announce that Melrose Sevens 2017 is to be sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management, and we are immensely grateful for the continued support of Martin Gilbert and his team.
“With the World Rugby series increasing in popularity each year, and the excitement of the British Silver Medal success in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Rugby Sevens is now a global phenomenon.
“Since its inception in Melrose in 1883, the seven-a-side game has reached corners of the globe that have never before embraced rugby.
“In the spirit of the original Sevens, but also to honour its legacy, this year Melrose announced its ambitious 1883 Legacy Project for a community development at The Greenyards, to provide a fitting space for Sevens heritage as well as activity areas for the whole community. The event will be a 24-team tournament and we look forward to welcoming Harlequins, Co-optimists, the national side from Sweden, and Western Province (RSA) as our guest teams for 2017.”
Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens convener, Ian Cooper, was delighted with the sides the event has attracted this year.
“The 2017 tournament looks to be an exciting programme of sevens rugby,” he said. “With a good geographic mix, we feel it is going to be a very open tournament, with any of the competing teams in with a chance of winning.
“A national team from Sweden continues the club’s policy of widening our sevens participation experience even further. With Rugby Sevens having been included for the first time as an extremely successful Olympic event in 2016, the profile of the game has never been higher.
“Add to that the Scotland Seven’s success at the Twickenham Sevens and you have a game which has well and truly made its mark on the global sporting stage. In addition, with this being Scotland’s Year of history heritage and archaeology, there will be an increased number of visitors in the area taking advantage of what the region has to offer.
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, commented: “Aberdeen is delighted to be supporting the Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens for a sixth successive year. Going on last year’s thrilling finish, we expect the 2017 instalment of the tournament to be as exciting as ever, with an array of local and international talent on show for the thousands of rugby fans in attendance, along with those watching live on BBC Scotland.
“The event has a magical feeling to it and we are proud to be associated with its history and prestige, along with the growing popularity of rugby sevens around the world.”
Scottish Rugby president Rob Flockhart added: “The profile of sevens has never been higher and Melrose - where I have happy memories of representing Boroughmuir in the tournament in the 1970s – continue to play their part in extending its appeal through the quality and imagination of the guest sides invited to the Greenyards.
“One of the unquestionable highlights of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games was the return of rugby union to the Olympic family and the sheer joy which surrounded Fiji’s first ever Olympic medal. The fact it was won in rugby sevens was so fitting.
“In Scotland, we are rightly proud that an idea which was conceived and first saw the light of day in Melrose has gained such global popularity.
“And how proud the Melrose club must be, too, to see three of their own – Calum MacRae, Scott Wight and Mark Robertson – in the vanguard of sevens success in the last year, MacRae as coach, Wight as captain and Robertson as player, as Scotland won a World Series tournament for the first time. Then Mark Robertson being selected as part of the GB team that won a silver medal in Rio.
“With Scott Wight offering his special insight into the abbreviated game to Rwanda as they attempt to bolster their chances of qualification for both Commonwealth and Olympic Games, Melrose’s influence over Ned Haig’s legacy is as strong as ever.”
Cllr David Parker, leader of Scottish Borders Councill said: “The Melrose 7s is an iconic, worldwide rugby event that showcases the best of 7s rugby each year. Scottish Borders Council is delighted to play a small part in supporting the event and are delighted that the 2017 event is shaping up to be another very special occasion.”
The Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens will be supervised by a team of seven top Scottish referees, supported by 12 referees’ assistants and in-goal area judges, to be appointed by the Borders Referees Society Appointments Panel from qualified referees from within the Borders area.
Melrose RFC will again host its popular Junior Coaching Clinic, now in its 34th year, on the morning of the Sevens.
The clinic is set to attract in excess of 100 youngsters under the age of 14 from clubs and schools throughout Scotland, who will be put through their paces by some of Scotland’s top coaches under the direction of Rob Moffat and sponsored by Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools.
Corporate hospitality will again be available at the Greenyards on Sevens day and will be organised by Douglas Hardie.
Meanwhile, Fiona Harvey, external affairs head of the tournament’s charity partner, Myeloma UK, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as Melrose Sevens charity partner for 2017. Myeloma is a rare and incurable form of bone marrow cancer and so it’s hugely important to develop a greater understanding of it and how it affects people. It really is a privilege to be part of such a huge sporting event that will help us to raise awareness and
show support for the tens of thousands of patients, family and friends currently living with myeloma in the UK.”
The draw for the tournament will be made in the clubrooms at the Greenyards on a date to be confirmed. Members of the public wishing to attend will be made welcome.
Details will be posted on the website, social media and weekly newsletter when the date is available.
Tickets are available via www.melrose7s.com or direct from the club – concessions and family tickets are also now available.