Borders derby among opening rugby fixtures for new season

Club, youth and adult fixtures for the upcoming 2021-22 season have been unveiled by Scottish Rugby.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 12:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 2:52 pm
Kelso Women, in hoops, seen here in 2019 against Grangemouth Stagettes, will have their first XV playing in National League 1 (picture by Alan Murray)
Kelso Women, in hoops, seen here in 2019 against Grangemouth Stagettes, will have their first XV playing in National League 1 (picture by Alan Murray)

The long-desired return to competitive action was confirmed earlier this month following consultation between Scottish Rugby clubs and schools.

Scottish Rugby’s board approved the recommendation by its council for the Tennent’s Leagues, both men’s and women’s, along with youth and school conferences, to recommence in three months’ time, with opening fixtures for the leagues taking place from September 4.

In the men’s league structure, the Tennent’s Premiership will have a Borders derby to start the season, with Jed-Forest opening their campaign against Selkirk.

Hawick host Currie Chieftains in another Premiership match of local interest.Below National 3, to be a 10-team contest next season, leagues remain in separate regional competitions.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 over the last 15 months, the women’s game has grown, with benefits for at least one Borders side.

Oban Lorne Women’s 1st XV have stepped down from National League Division 1 to West Regional League Division 1, and their place in National 1 is being taken by Kelso Women’s 1st XV, as runners-up in the 2019 regional play-off final.

The upcoming season for the school game includes eight schools conferences for boys at U13, U14, U15, U16 and U18 levels in Borders Town, Caledonia A, East A, East B, East C, East Development, West A and West B.

Outcomes from those conferences will determine progression to the National Schools Cup and Shield competitions, set to take place between January and March 2022.

Scottish Rugby’s director of rugby development, Sheila Begbie, said: “We know players, coaches and volunteers have been looking forward to getting back to the sport they love and now it is at last in sight.

“It has been an exciting few months seeing the domestic game come back to life as training and friendly fixtures have resumed across the country.

“While we still need to remain cautious because of the nature of coronavirus, this is a positive step forward towards what we hope will be an enthralling season.”