Once again, as expected, there’s a heavy concentration of Borders players in the South Scotland squad for this Saturday’s Chester 7s tournament.
For reasons of availability – or otherwise – a few new faces are in the line-up, following South’s emphatic win in the Braidholm 7s tournament last month.
Captained by Bruce McNeil of Hawick, who fulfilled a co-skipper’s role in the Braidholm campaign, they are set to cross the border on June 17 to take part in the Chester 7s’ festival of sport at the Winnington Rugby Club.
Three other Hawick players are part of the 12-man line-up, as well as three from Melrose and one each from Peebles, Gala, Jed-Forest, Heriot’s and Edinburgh Accies.
“It’s a big deal to me taking on the captain’s armband – it is a real honour,” said McNeil, who admitted he and the whole South squad was relishing the opportunity to face off against some of the very best UK club rugby sevens players.
“Playing for the South is very different. We get to play with guys we are used to knocking lumps out of, week in, week out. We get to do certain things we might not be able to with our clubs. Everyone learns a lot and it is really a fun experience.
The South will face 15 of the best invitational sevens’ teams in the UK, all vying for a piece of the £1800 prize pool. The winners will receive £1000, runners-up £500 and beaten semi-finalists £150 each.
“It’s difficult to say how we will go this weekend as we haven’t trained together an awful lot,” added McNeil. “That said, we didn’t train together much before the Braidholm event and we won it.
“In that tournament, we definitely needed a couple of games before we hit our stride. Hopefully, we get do the same again this weekend.
“At the end of the day, it will be a fun weekend. We are going to relish playing for the South and enjoy ourselves before pre-season for the 15s’ season starts in the next few weeks.”
The full South squad is:
Bruce McNeil (captain), Guy Graham, Keith Davies, Kyle Brunton (all Hawick), Ruairi Campbell, Bruce Colvine, David Colvine (all Melrose), Robbie Shirra-Gibb (Jed-Forest), Ross Combe (Gala), Kieran Brown (Peebles), Robbie Chalmers (Edinbrugh Accies) and Craig Robertson (Heriot’s).