ALL ROADS lead to Melrose this weekend as the 128th staging of the town’s historic sevens tournament takes place on Saturday and once again the event is set to be one of the highlights of the rugby calendar.
Guest sides from New Zealand, South Africa and Japan will battle it out with the cream of the Scottish clubs for glory in what is undoubtedly the blue riband event of the Borders sevens circuit.
And with new sponsors QUBE GB on board the event is sure to be yet another huge success.
Darren Bunker, founder and director of the Selkirk-based company, said: “QUBE GB are delighted to be the main sponsors of the Melrose Sevens 2011. We are honoured to support such a prestigious event, which has deep traditions in the Scottish Borders and the world of rugby, both at home and abroad.”
Thousands are set once again to descend on the picturesque Greenyards ground in the centre of Melrose for what is one of the most scenic sporting events in the world. In the shadow of the Eildon hills, some of the finest exponents of seven-a-side rugby will be on display and, as ever, there will be as much entertainment off the field as there is on it.
It cannot be overstated just how important the tournament is for the town, bringing in huge amounts of money to the club, traders and the local economy. The sevens is THE day in the Melrose calendar and the townspeople will be ready to extend a warm welcome to the many visitors over the weekend.
It is, of course, as much a social occasion as a sporting one as people from all over the world travel to the Borders to enjoy the event.
Like last year, the hospitality is being run in house by Melrose Rugby Club and the bars will be open all day. Up the road, the local pubs and hotels will be jumping too, and it just wouldn’t be Melrose Sevens day without a wander up the town to sample the unique atmosphere.
It is, however, on the field of play that Melrose has made its mark as the number one tournament. As the inventors of the abbreviated game, the club continues to be a great pioneer of sevens and, as well as having a successful side themselves (they are the reigning Kings of the Sevens) the local supporters always appreciate seeing high-quality sevens from leading international clubs.
This year’s QUBE GB Melrose Sevens sees the Scottish club sides take on invitational teams Hong Kong Scottish, Waikato from New Zealand – and Hamilton from South Africa, who are returning to defend their 2010 title.
Paul Bush OBE, chief operating officer for EventScotland said: “The draw for this year’s Melrose Sevens shows the reputation of the event and that teams from all around the world are eager to come and play in Scotland, the perfect stage for rugby events with its rich history around the sport.
As we are in the year of Active, it is wonderful that we will have so many teams in both the main draw and veterans competition playing this year and inspiring others to have a go, too.
“EventScotland has supported the Melrose Sevens since 2008. This year marks the first where it will receive funding through our International Funding Programme to help broaden the reach of the event.
“The event has an ever-increasing global appeal as the sport looks towards Olympic inclusion in 2016 and it will be one of the sports in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. As the birthplace of the seven-a-side game, we believe the tournament can continue to grow and attract visitors and supporters from far beyond the Scottish Borders.”
Tickets for the 128th anniversary QUBE GB Melrose Sevens, priced from £20, are available at www.melroserugbyshop.co.uk or direct from the club, and concessions are available.
You can also join the thousands of fans who are following the tournament on Facebook – or at the vets twitter (@melrosevets) – or go to www.melrose7s.com
Alternatively, get updates via SMS by texting follow Melrose7s to 86444.