Southern Knights vow to go out with bang after confirming nine members of squad ahead of swan-song rugby season

Southern Knights say they’re hoping to go out with a bang as the beginning of their fourth and final rugby season nears.
Dan Gamble, pictured ahead of Southern Knights' game against the Fosroc Future XV at the Greenyards in Melrose in July 2023, has been named in their final Fosroc Super Series Sprint squad (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group/SRU)Dan Gamble, pictured ahead of Southern Knights' game against the Fosroc Future XV at the Greenyards in Melrose in July 2023, has been named in their final Fosroc Super Series Sprint squad (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group/SRU)
Dan Gamble, pictured ahead of Southern Knights' game against the Fosroc Future XV at the Greenyards in Melrose in July 2023, has been named in their final Fosroc Super Series Sprint squad (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group/SRU)

It was announced in February that the semi-professional Fosroc Super Series competitions the Melrose-based Knights play in will end this year, so the Super Series Sprint campaign starting this month is all but certain to be the Knights’ last hurrah.

It’ll be their third sprint season and, having ended up with wooden spoons both previous times round, they’re determined to give a better account of themselves before bowing out for good.

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The Borderers ended up bottom of the table after last year’s sprint series with Kelso rugby legend Alan Tait as head coach and the year prior’s with Melrose’s Bruce Ruthven in charge.

Allan Ferrie, pictured in action at home to Boroughmuir Bears in August 2021, has signed up for Southern Knights' final Fosroc Super Series campaign (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)Allan Ferrie, pictured in action at home to Boroughmuir Bears in August 2021, has signed up for Southern Knights' final Fosroc Super Series campaign (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)
Allan Ferrie, pictured in action at home to Boroughmuir Bears in August 2021, has signed up for Southern Knights' final Fosroc Super Series campaign (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)

They picked up one point after losing all six of their games in 2023 and ended up without any points at all despite winning one match in 2022 – by 19-14 at home to Heriot’s that June – as they had five point docked for a breach of the competition’s rules.

“Although this may be the last dance for the Southern Knights, trust me when I say we’ll be going out with a bang,” general manager Douglas Crawford, currently on playing duty with South of Scotland in the national inter-district championship, told Melrose’s Rose newsletter.

Knights’ coaches for the season ahead will be Scott Wight, Iain Chisholm and James Head, overseen by Melrose’s head of rugby, Rob Moffat.

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Wight, 38, is the only survivor from last season’s coaching team, previous forwards coach Lewis Carmichael having left along with Tait, 59, in the interim.

Sam Derrick, pictured training with Scotland's under-20s at Edinburgh's Oriam in January 2023, will be in Southern Knights' last Fosroc Super Series Sprint squad (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)Sam Derrick, pictured training with Scotland's under-20s at Edinburgh's Oriam in January 2023, will be in Southern Knights' last Fosroc Super Series Sprint squad (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)
Sam Derrick, pictured training with Scotland's under-20s at Edinburgh's Oriam in January 2023, will be in Southern Knights' last Fosroc Super Series Sprint squad (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)

“There has been a real air of excitement amongst both the coaching and playing group,” said former Edinburgh head coach Moffat, 66.

“We are delighted to have three really enthusiastic coaches, who have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure the squad can hit the ground running when the sprint comes round.”

Knights won’t be confirming their full squad until four days ahead of the start of the new season at home at the Greenyards to Edinburgh A on Friday, April 19, with kick-off at 7.35pm, but they have announced the return of nine previous players as core members of that line-up.

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They are Allan Ferrie, Sam Derrick, Monroe Job, Adam Hall, Jack Dobie, Craig Greer, Dan Gamble, Gregor McNeish and Garry Young, and they’ll be accompanied by Melrose players ahead of their return to the Scottish Premiership in the autumn following the scrapping of the Super Series.

“Preparations for the upcoming sprint season are well under way to ensure the team are ready to hit the ground running when Edinburgh A come to the Greenyards on April 19,” said scrum-half Crawford, 28.

“We have assembled a great coaching group of Wighty, Cheg and James Head and the squad are in a very good place, with only two or three spots remaining to be filled.

“I think both members of the club and others within the region will be uplifted by the make-up of the squad when it is announced on April 15.

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“The coaches have done an excellent job of recruiting a balanced squad of youth and experience featuring a strong core of Borderers.

“Pleasingly we have retained a number of key players from last season’s Knights squad.

“There will also be a number of familiar faces from the club first XV making the step up.

“The chance for these guys to test themselves at a higher level will only aid preparation for next year’s premiership season.

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“While I appreciate that the Southern Knights have been a point of contention within the club since their inception, I am hoping now we have clarity regarding the future of rugby at the Greenyards, that the whole club will get behind and support this exciting group of players and coaches over the course of the sprint season.”

Knights finished their first Covid-19-curtailed Fosroc Super6 Championship season fourth in 2020, their second five points clear at the top of the table in 2021 prior to losing 26-16 to Ayrshire Bulls in that year’s play-off final, their third second from bottom and last year’s fourth.

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