University trio on the subject of Melrose 7s

Three of the UK's oldest universities have been invited to compete in the renowned Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens rugby tournament this April.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 11:50 am
Members of the St Andrews University rugby squad.

Durham University, the University of St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh all have long-established rugby clubs dating back to the 1800s, marking the clubs’ historic dedication to the sport.

The youngest of the three clubs, Durham, founded in 1875, is where a number of professional rugby players, including Will Carling and Will Greenwood, have honed their rugby skills.

Having recently emerged as BUCS champions, the club is taking its participation in the 2019 tournament very seriously. This will be the team’s first time competing in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens.

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Alex Keay, Durham’s senior rugby coach, said: “We’re honoured to have been selected and we already have a solid idea of who our team players will be. University rugby culture is definitely reaching higher standards, with more people going into professional rugby than ever.

“Being part of such a recognised tournament will encourage our students to reach their full potential in the sport.”

Founded in 1857, Edinburgh University RFC will return to Melrose following last year’s tournament. In recent years, Edinburgh has gained solid experience in playing rugby sevens, competing in tournaments across Scotland, as well as in overseas games in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Morocco.

Edinburgh University RFC’s head of men’s rugby, David Adamson, said: “We are delighted to have been asked to take part again. It’s a great experience for our students to be a part of. Come February, we will shift our focus to the sevens.

“At Edinburgh University, we have a highly professional environment with full-time members of staff dedicated to the club and I am positive our students will receive exceptional training in preparation for the big day.”

Celebrating its 161st anniversary this year, the University of St Andrews RFC will be taking part in the tournament for the first time.

Director of rugby at St Andrews, Scott Lawson, said: “It’s truly outstanding for us to get an invite to such a major rugby event. It’s an achievement for us to be able to link a club with history with a tournament that’s also steeped in history.

“This is also an opportunity for our students to showcase their talent. University rugby clubs continue to grow and are becoming increasingly performance-based. It’s truly rewarding for us to know our club has reached such a status to be deemed of a standard to be able to play at higher levels.”

The Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens is the world’s original rugby sevens tournament, attracting 24 international and Scottish clubs every year to battle it out to lift the Ladies Cup.

The game of sevens was invented in Melrose in 1883 by butcher Ned Haig, and the 136th playing of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Melrose Sevens will take place on April 13 at the town’s Greenyards.

Martin Gilbert, co-CEO of headline sponsor Aberdeen Standard Investments, added: “The Melrose Sevens is a major event in the rugby calendar both nationally and internationally.

“We are pleased university clubs are taking part in this competition, alongside major Scottish and international sides, allowing the students to participate in a global rugby event.

“It’s a real incentive for them to develop their skills and receive recognition of their commitment to the sport.”

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