Struggling Dodds wants a return to pre-season sevens

MELROSE skipper Graeme Dodds believes there are too many sevens tournaments at the end of the season, writes Kenny Paterson.

Dodds says his squad are struggling badly with fatigue and injuries, with Hawick coach Phil Leck also commenting on the lack of fit players left for his team after a long 15-a-side season.

Kelso and Selkirk’s sevens were moved into the spring last year, having previously been played in August, with four tournaments played over the last two weekends.

Asked if there are too many, Dodds told TheSouthern: “Definitely in springtime. We hate to see tournaments going away, as the likes of Langholm and Berwick put on a good tournament.

“But I think we need to get back to two or maybe three (competitions) back in August for pre-season.

“This is too much, guys are sore. We can’t train on Tuesday nights as we are still hurting from the weekend, especially guys who have played Saturday and Sunday.

“We were playing 15s right up until the week before Melrose Sevens, it is a lot for the body to take, to try and do back-to-back weekends of sevens. It is tough.

“When there were two tournaments in August it was bearable, but 10 in seven weeks is probably too much.”

Melrose’s victory at Earlston Sevens means the Greenyards club have closed the gap on Kings of the Sevens leaders Jed-Forest – with Selkirk Sevens on Saturday and the final leg at Riverside Park the following week.

Dodds added: “Jed have the luxury of what we had last year by keeping the same 10 (players) together. We have not had that luxury this year with guys being injured.

“There are nine points between us with two tournaments to go – you never say never.”

Meanwhile, retired Scotland star Chris Paterson jets off to New Zealand this Saturday following his appointment in an ambassadorial and coaching role with Scottish Rugby. The 34-year-old from Galashiels will watch professional team the Canterbury Crusaders on a fact-finding mission, just a week after he ended his career with a try in Edinburgh’s victory over Treviso at Murrayfield.

Paterson said: “I’m delighted to take on this new role and can’t wait to get my teeth into it.

“I’m really excited about going to New Zealand and am looking to get lots from it.

“The first really obvious thing would be what it’s like to approach games as a coach and not a player.”

Also set to take up a post at Murrayfield is former Selkirk president Donald Macleod, who is the sole candidate for the SRU’s vice-president position. The ex-British Lions and Scotland doctor’s election is expected to be announced at the SRU’s annual meeting on June 30.

And four Borderers have been named in the Scotland under-20 squad for the IRB Junior World Championships in South Africa next month.

Robin Hislop of Langholm, now at Edinburgh, Gavin Robertson of Earlston, playing his rugby at Dundee HSFP, along with Jed-Forest’s Andrew Nagle and Gala’s Gary Graham, are included in the 28-man squad.

The Scots tackle Australia, France and Argentina in their group.