Springtime feast of rugby 7s action kicks off at Netherdale

Hosts Gala took on Jed-Forest in the semi-final of their Sevens event last year (picture by Alwyn Johnston)
Hosts Gala took on Jed-Forest in the semi-final of their Sevens event last year (picture by Alwyn Johnston)

Six weeks of spectacular spring rugby entertainment begin this weekend as the 2017 Kings of the Sevens circuit resumes.

Following round one at Peebles back in August, the action picks up again this Sunday afternoon, at the home of Gala.

The successful pool format continues this year, with 12 club teams in four pools, kicking off at 2pm, with the final expected around 6.15pm.

There will also be Plate and Bowl competitions, guaranteeing at least three games for every team.

For the host club, it’s the chance of a return to some meaningful games and perhaps to extract some sort of consolation from a season which saw them fall from the BT Premiership.

“We are certainly lookling forward to getting into the Sevens,” said club captain Graham Speirs.

“It’s been a wee while since the guys have played some competitive rugby and things haven’t really gone their best at Netherdale this season, so it’s a good opportunity for us to go out, play some rugby and give the supporters to cheer about.

“It gives us a fresh motivation going into the Kings of 7s – hopefully the weather will be good and we can throw a ball about a bit on Sunday.”

The line-up features some very strong and familiar names from Borders rugby and Graham felt sure there would be a healthy appetite for the competition.

“There are a lot of good, experienced teams around – Melrose and (last season’s overall champions) Jed-Forest have done well in recent years, and Watsonians always come down from Edinburgh with a strong squad, so there is a good group of guys who are really enthusiastic about the Sevens,” he said.

“It’s obviously something we as Borderers are very proud of as well, and we think the Kings of the Sevens tournament is a really good way to finish the season.”

Despite their relegation from the top flight, Gala remained confident they could perform well in their own tournament, added Graham.

“I think this year we have shown in glimpses that we can play rugby,” he said. “We have guys who are comfortable throwing the ball around; we have some dangerous players out wide and can score some good tries.

“All in all, the XV-a-side season hasn’t gone our way. But we are confident and we have a good group of guys holding their hands up for the Sevens.”

Netherdale players who could particularly thrive in the shortened game incuded fly-half Gregor Hunter,who had just returned from his third tournament on the HSBC World Series with Scotland, plus George Lott and Ross Combe, who had spent a fair bit of time on the invitational circuit, playing across the UK and overseas. while others in the squad had played invitational 7s as well.

For more details, contact the club office on 01896 755145, or email info@galarfc.com

Sunday’s first-round draw:

Melrose v Selkirk

Melrose v Edinburgh Accies

Selkirk v Edinburgh Accies

Gala v Kelso

Gala v Langholm

Kelso v Langholm

Watsonians v Hawick

Watsonians v Peebles

Hawick v Peebles

Jed-Forest v Boroughmuir

Jed-Forest v Earlston

Boroughmuir v Earlston.