Three Scotland under-20s named in South of Scotland Barbarians squad to contest rugby’s 2024 Melrose Sevens

Current Southern Knights attack coach Scott Wight won Melrose Sevens with Glasgow Warriors in 2014, as well as with former club Melrose in 2011, and he's hoping to do the same with his new South of Scotland Barbarians squad this weekend (Photo: SNS Group/SRU/Craig Watson)Current Southern Knights attack coach Scott Wight won Melrose Sevens with Glasgow Warriors in 2014, as well as with former club Melrose in 2011, and he's hoping to do the same with his new South of Scotland Barbarians squad this weekend (Photo: SNS Group/SRU/Craig Watson)
Current Southern Knights attack coach Scott Wight won Melrose Sevens with Glasgow Warriors in 2014, as well as with former club Melrose in 2011, and he's hoping to do the same with his new South of Scotland Barbarians squad this weekend (Photo: SNS Group/SRU/Craig Watson)
Scotland under-20 national rugby team players Kerr Johnston, Hector Patterson and Finn Douglas have been named in the South of Scotland Barbarians team hoping to keep Melrose Sevens’ 1883 Centenary Cup in the Borders for the first time since 2011.

Current Southern Knights attack coach Scott Wight was captain of that last Melrose team to win their own tournament 13 years ago, by edging out South Africans Hamilton 31-26 in that year’s final, and he was also in the Glasgow Warriors team that won it in 2014, seeing off Edinburgh Academical 47-14, and he’s now hoping to get third time lucky as head coach of the new Barbarians invitational outfit.

Ex-Selkirk head coach Wight hasn’t confirmed the full line-up of his squad for this coming Saturday’s Greenyards sevens but former Melrose and Southern Knights fly-half Craig Jackson, currently playing and coaching at Fosroc Super Series side Stirling Wolves, will also feature, as will a few current Knights.

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That extra Borders team, announced in March – joining Hawick, Gala, Peebles, Jed-Forest, Kelso, Selkirk and Melrose – will enter at the competition’s second-round stage, going up against either Boroughmuir or Watsonians for a quarter-final place.

Kerr Johnston in action for Scotland under-20s versus England at Edinburgh's Hive Stadium in February (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)Kerr Johnston in action for Scotland under-20s versus England at Edinburgh's Hive Stadium in February (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)
Kerr Johnston in action for Scotland under-20s versus England at Edinburgh's Hive Stadium in February (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)

Ex-Gala winger Johnston, on United Rugby Championship team Warriors’ books these days, and erstwhile Jed-Forest and Hawick scrum-half Patterson and Knights and Melrose winger Douglas, both now at Edinburgh, were all in the Scotland squad for February and March’s Under-20 Six Nations.

The aim of Wight’s Barbarians, he said, is to field a team of Borderers able to compete with invitational teams made up of professionals from all over the world, the last time one of the region’s Kings of the 7s contenders made it to the final having been back in 2018, with Melrose losing out to Watsonians 19-14 that time round.

“South of Scotland Barbarians coming to Melrose is hugely exciting,” said the 38-year-old, fielded by Aberdeen Grammar at 2013’s Greenyards sevens.

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“The majority of the squad will be Borderers. There’ll be seven or eight Borderers and there will be four or five baa-baas.

Finn Douglas during a Scotland under-20 training session at Edinburgh's Oriam in February 2022 (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)Finn Douglas during a Scotland under-20 training session at Edinburgh's Oriam in February 2022 (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)
Finn Douglas during a Scotland under-20 training session at Edinburgh's Oriam in February 2022 (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group/SRU)

“The squad at the moment will see Craig Jackson, who’s currently with Stirling Wolves, coming back to Melrose, which is fantastic. He will be a leader within the group.

“The Scottish academies have been brilliant too.

“Edinburgh have released Finn Douglas and Hector Patterson, recently with Scotland’s under-20s, and Glasgow have also released Kerr Johnson, which is excellent.

“We will release a couple of boys from Southern Knights with Borders connections and the rest of the guys will be made up of the baa-baas part of it.

Hector Patterson playing for Scotland at 2024's Under-20 Six Nations against France at Edinburgh's Hive Stadium in February (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group/SRU)Hector Patterson playing for Scotland at 2024's Under-20 Six Nations against France at Edinburgh's Hive Stadium in February (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group/SRU)
Hector Patterson playing for Scotland at 2024's Under-20 Six Nations against France at Edinburgh's Hive Stadium in February (Photo by Ewan Bootman/SNS Group/SRU)

“Everybody is hugely excited about this.

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“There’s been a big buzz among the players we are speaking to, some of whom will be playing at Melrose for the first time, which is obviously fantastic.

“It’s really important that local guys get the experience of playing at Melrose Sevens.”

Tickets for Saturday’s sevens cost from £35. For details, go to https://melrose7s.co.uk/tickets/

This year’s first round starts just after 11am, with 2024’s final following at 7pm.

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