The Kings of the 7s tournament starts this Saturday at Gala – and in recent times two clubs have dominated, with Melrose and Jed-Forest winning 11 of the last 15 titles.
It will be a surprise if Melrose don’t back up last year’s triumph, as for the first time in a few years the Greenyards outfit will be at their strongest at all 10 tournaments, with the ability to call on some experienced and talented players.
Austin Lockington, one of the star players from this season and a former South African 7s cap, has been itching to play on the circuit and will now get his opportunity to shine, along with the likes of Fraser Thomson, Damien Hoyland and former Scotland 7s players Callum Anderson and Graeme Dodds.
So they are the team to beat, but that will make every other side even more determined to take that title away from them. Jed-Forest are always up for the challenge, and with the buzz around the club right now, following promotion, they’ll be looking to do well again.
Gala’s last win of the overall title came back in 2004, although they got off to the perfect start last year winning their own tournament. They have some blistering pace available to them and, on paper, should do well.
Hawick are always strong on paper, particularly in Saturday tournaments, and this season they will be looking to make it an incredible seven wins in a row at their own event. It will be some achievement if they can do it.
Selkirk are always capable of beating anyone and last year posted victories at their own tournament and at Langholm.
Otherwise, only Melrose and Watsonians won two events last year, and with Fraser Harkness and Darren Clapperton likely to play for the Souters, they will be difficult to beat.
Amazingly, Selkirk’s only appearance in a Melrose 7s final was back in 1897 – 117 years ago when they lost to Hawick 16-3. Not even the legendary Jack Dun saw that one.
Kelso and Peebles made three semi-finals between them last year and will be competitive for sure, and with Watsonians (2009 winners), Heriot’s and Edinburgh Accies always mounting a challenge from north of Soutra Hill, we’re in for another feast of rugby – superb for the spectators, but gruelling for the players.
For details of this Saturday’s tournament at Netherdale, turn to page 94.