Teries hope 7s shift to August offers top-class entertainment

This weekend's hosts, Hawick, in green, reached last weekend's final at The Gytes, where they lost out to Jed-Forest (picture by Brian Sutherland).
This weekend's hosts, Hawick, in green, reached last weekend's final at The Gytes, where they lost out to Jed-Forest (picture by Brian Sutherland).

Hawick RFC step into new and exciting territory this weekend by staging their leg of the Kings of the Sevens tournament in August for the first time.

The event is also part of the Festival of Rugby – but the Mansfield Park hierarchy will be intrigued to see the result of moving the local contest from cluttered April-May to a fresh, spacious clearing on the August calendar.

Hawick reached the final last weekend at Peebles – which seemed a clear indication of their keenness and appetite to play.

That enthusiasm is expected to be equally high on Saturday, despite the extra pressure that runs parallel with being hosts.

Captain Bruce McNeil noted last Saturday: “I think everyone just wanted to get the ball in their hands and play a bit of rugby. There were a lot of new faces and that is good for the game.”

John Thorburn, Hawick secretary and sevens convenor, said it was “new territory” for them and they’d be able to assess quickly if the shift to August had been a success.

Last week’s line-up seemed to be “pretty much a level playing field, which was good for the competition”, he said, adding: “Jed (the winners) had a very experienced team and we had a young team – we were delighted from our point of view that we showed up well.”

Festival of Rugby attractions would feature a mixed touch rugby session tomorrow (Friday) called ‘Teri Touch’, while the weekend also includes U18s action, turn-up practice for women and girls, and a training session for players with disabilities, led by ex-Hawick Harlequins coach Gary Murdie. He has been working to promote unified rugby for players with learning difficulties, autism or mild physical conditions.

The Sevens action starts at 2pm on Saturday and the first-round draw is as follows:

Gala v Peebles, Berwick v Watsonians, Melrose v Kelso, Langholm v Hawick, Jed-Forest v Tynedale, President’s VII v Boroughmuir, Hawick Force v Selkirk, Musselburgh v Edinburgh Accies.