Rugby fans in seventh heaven as Borders' biggest sporting event returns after two years off

There are now only two days to go until the biggest event on the Borders’ sporting calendar, Melrose Sevens, returns after a two-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By Darin Hutson
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 2:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th April 2022, 2:58 pm
Action from the last Melrose Sevens two years ago (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Action from the last Melrose Sevens two years ago (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

Saturday's sevens competition will be the centrepiece of a four-day event centred on the Greenyards, as had been planned previously before Covid-19 restrictions forced call-offs two years running.

It kicks off with a Melrose Sevens hall of fame dinner tonight and continues with a seven-a-side charity match tomorrow night at 7.30pm in aid of the motor neurone disease research charity set up by Borders rugby legend Doddie Weir, followed, at 8pm, by a 15-a-side game between Fosroc Super6 sides Southern Knights and Boroughmuir Bears.

Ex-Scotland lock Weir’s sons Hamish, Angus and Ben will be captains for the earlier match, joining the likes of Freddie Tuilagi, Sam Tui’tupau, Iwan Tukalo, Tom Varndell, David Hilton, Fergus Thompson, Scott Lawson, Rob Vickers, Opeta Palapoi, Ally Hogg, Allan Bateman, Rowen Shepherd, Craig Joiner and Adam Roxburgh.

Kelso's Bruce McNeil, with Hawick at the time, on the ball against Boroughmuir at 2019's Melrose Sevens (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

The draw’s been made for Saturday’s 1883 Centenary Cup competition and its first round pits Glasgow Hawks against Musselburgh, Stirling County v Hawick, Boroughmuir v Currie, Selkirk v Ayr, Kelso v invitational side the Co-optimists, Samurai v Heriot’s, GHA v Gala, Edinburgh Accies v Jed-Forest, Peebles v Aberdeen and Marr v Watsonians, with Melrose among six sides given a bye to the second round.

The Borders sides and two of their Edinburgh adversaries taking part will also be competing for Kings of the 7s points, with Melrose currently in front on 13 points after two rounds and Jed-Forest second on 10, followed by Hawick and Gala tying for third place with eight and Selkirk in fifth place with seven. Kelso are seventh with five and Peebles eighth with three.

Proceedings will be rounded off by a concert headlined by veteran alternative rock act Big Country on Sunday evening.

Phil Morris, Melrose’s commercial and sevens tournament director, said: “Being able to attract quality teams to Melrose really does enable us to put this event on the world rugby sevens stage.

“It will be a weekend of fantastic rugby that will continue to celebrate the traditions we all hold dear.

“We want our sevens tournament to be fun. There’s going to be something for everyone, young and old.

“Melrose is where rugby sevens was invented in 1883 and we will be back with a bang.

“Melrose and the local community have missed two sevens events due to Covid, and we are looking forward to being able to host our 132nd sevens event and draw people back to the Borders. It is exciting to be part of that.”

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