Rugby club officials pressing ahead with provisional plans for XVs tournament at Selkirk
Officials at Selkirk Rugby Club are pressing ahead with plans for a tournament there at the end of August in the hope that coronavirus restrictions will have been eased enough by then to make it a practicable proposition.
Provisionally lined up for Saturday, August 28, at the club’s Philiphaugh ground, the competition would be for full-sized teams of 15 rather than seven, as usually the case with summer rugby events in the Borders.
No decision has been made yet on whether this year’s sevens contest at Selkirk, usually held in early May as one of ten such events making up the region’s annual Kings of the 7s competition, will go ahead or be cancelled again, like last year, because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Thus far this year, Langholm and Earlston’s sevens have been called off, but those at Hawick, Galashiels and Peebles are provisionally lined up to take place in August. Melrose’s event, due to be held next month, is on hold for now but might yet go ahead later in the summer. No announcements have been made yet about the prospects for Kelso, Jedburgh or Berwick’s sevens.
The idea for a XVs tournament at Selkirk was thought up the club’s sevens convener, David Nichol, and director of rugby, Ewen Robbie.
“We actually talked about holding a 15s tournament last year, but for obvious reasons that never went ahead,” said Nichol.
“A total of eight teams have been invited this year - Hawick, Gala, Peebles, Musselburgh, Kelso, Jed-Forest, Melrose and ourselves - and so far five clubs have accepted.
“There’d be two pools of four, with the top side in each pool playing each other in the final.
“The idea behind 15s as opposed to sevens is that most teams will be preparing for the new 15-a-side season by then, so this will allow clubs to play themselves back in with some shorter games and a chance to rotate players.”
A definite decision about whether the XVs tournament proceeds or not won’t be made until the current Covid-19 lockdown has been eased enough by the Scottish Government to allow the event’s organisers to press ahead with confidence that their efforts won’t be in vain.
“Once we know how things stand, we’ll be good to go,” said Nichol.
“We’ve got an enthusiastic general committee and board who hold regular meetings on Zoom, so when the green light is given, we’ve got a willing bunch of experienced people ready to set things in motion.”