South Schools return to competitive rugby after a break of five years when they take on Rugby School at the world-famous The Close pitch, the fabled birthplace of the modern game, writes Alan Lorimer.
The September 28 fixture has come about thanks to Hawick High’s connection with Rugby School.
Originally, Hawick High were invited to play the match, but rector Alan Williamson, a former top-grade referee, has turned the opportunity into one for South Schools under-18s, who will play a warm-up next Tuesday against Dollar Academy, where former Edinburgh and Borders coach Rob Moffat is now teaching.
Mr Williamson said: “Staff involved in rugby in the Borders at school level have always felt that this representative step has been missed and while there are no concrete plans at the moment to establish a team beyond the Rugby School fixture, we are really looking forward to allowing the boys to experience a different level and type of rugby, which I am sure they will experience in the fixtures with Dollar and Rugby.
“For the boys to play at The Close at Rugby School is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am personally excited to see the red and white hoops on display again.”
Mr Williamson, alongside Peebles High’s David Changleng, is managing the squad, which contains players from all nine Borders secondary schools.
The coaches are Graham Marshall (Selkirk HS) and Malcolm Changleng (Earlston HS).
South Schools squad: forwards – Gavin Blair (Hawick HS), Callum Crookshanks (Earlston HS), Angus Runciman (Earlston HS), Ross Graham (Hawick HS), Richard Harrison (Peebles HS), Cole Lothian (Jed GS), Gary Robertson (Gala Academy), Finlay Simpson (Hawick HS), Ryan Gibson (Jed GS), Charlie Woodhouse (Eyemouth HS), Murray Kerr (Earlston HS). Backs – Sam Bandeen (Hawick HS), Harry Cooper (Kelso HS), Sam Cuthers (Kelso HS), Matt Douglas (Hawick HS/Gosforth Ac), Scott Halliday (Peebles HS), Jack Harrison (Peebles HS), Ruairi Howarth (Gala Academy), Rory Marshall (Jedburgh GS), Cameron Pye (Peebles HS), Iain Sim (Berwickshire HS), Kyle Stillie (Selkirk HS).
z Meanwhile, Craig Chalmers is hopeful Fraser Thomson will play for Melrose this Saturday as his side host Heriot’s in the Premiership, writes Kenny Paterson.
Thomson was released back to Melrose from Glasgow Warriors last weekend and scored a superb try against Currie.
Chalmers told TheSouthern: “The vibes I am getting is he will be available, which is a pity for Fraser in terms of playing for Glasgow, but good for us.
“I am looking for a better performance. We have not played well yet, which is understandable as the new players need time to gel.
“Heriot’s will throw the ball around, which will suit our expansive style.”
Elsewhere in the Premiership, Gala host Ayr in a table-top clash.
In the National League, injury-hit Jed-Forest will be missing Neil Cook (broken hand) for their home match with Biggar.
Unbeaten Selkirk host Hamilton, Kelso travel to Glasgow Hawks and winless Hawick entertain leaders Hillhead/Jordanhill.