Coaches seek to develop top Southern talent in summer 7s

Andrew Skeen scores a try for Kelso.
Andrew Skeen scores a try for Kelso.

The South of Scotland rugby team will this year be competing in two major Sevens tournaments during the close season.

Also, a Development Squad, composed mainly of youngsters, will be fielded for the first time.

Fraser Harkness and Darren Cunningham will be in charge of the squad for the inaugural Edinburgh 7s tournament which takes place on Saturday, June 2 at Inverleith. The tournament has attracted a high quality of elite teams made up of some of the top 7s players on the circuit.

The South will also be taking part again in the Chester 7s tournament on June 16.

The Development side will take to the field at this Saturday’s Walkerburn 7s and will include two senior players, as well as eight of the most talented youngsters in the South of Scotland.

Andrew Skeen is captain of the South team, while Nik Stingl will lead out the Development side at Walkerburn.

Head coach Fraser Harkness said: “Keeping alive The South name is important and, with 7s being such a huge tradition in the area, it is good to be able to send a team to these prestigious tournaments, as well as bringing on new boys to experience the culture of the South. Everyone who wears the South jersey knows how special it is and the history that goes with it.”

The South Development Squad have been drawn against Ross High in round one of the Walkerburn 7s on Saturday and, if they progress, will face the winners of the tie between Barnton and Hawick Linden, two clubs who have performed well in the East League this season.

The following week, at the Edinburgh 7s, the South squad will be in one of two pools of four, playing against the EC7 Powerbombs, Rex Club Red Kites and Team Tusker.

The South Development Squad for the Walkerburn 7s on Saturday, May 26:

Nik Stingl (Kelso, captain), Callum Renwick (Hawick U18s), Ryan Cottrell (Selkirk YC), Cammy Brown (Kelso Harlequins), Andrew Mitchell (Hawick U18s), Lewis Ferguson (Hawick), Connor Gillon (Kelso), Iain Davidson (Selkirk YC), Ross Combe (Hawick),Fraser Harkness (Jed-Forest).

The South squad for the Edinburgh 7s on June 2:

Andrew Skeen (Kelso, captain), Ally Grieve (Melrose), Callum Marshall (Selkirk), Bruce Colvine (Melrose), Lewis Young (JedForest), Darren Clapperton (Selkirk), Robbie Chalmers (Edinburgh Accies), Rory Marshall (Jed-Forest), Ross Combe (Hawick), Callum Young (Jed-Forest), Ross Nixon (Selkirk).

For both, coaches are Fraser Harkness and Darren Cunningham, with team manager Neil Hinnigan.