Peebles 7s gives clear signal that new season is on its way

Hosts Peebles in action at The Gytes against eventual winners Melrose in the 2016 Sevens (picture by Alwyn Johnston)
Hosts Peebles in action at The Gytes against eventual winners Melrose in the 2016 Sevens (picture by Alwyn Johnston)

It is still only the fifth week of pre-season training for most clubs – but this Saturday sees the return of the Kings of the Sevens.

The occasion is the So Stobo and Green Field Marquees Peebles 7s .

And, while the start of the new rugby season may still be 30 days away, for everyone in the Borders, the season officially begins once the Peebles 7s has arrived.

“Everyone is looking forward to the event,” said Peebles club secretary and sevens organiser, Jim King.

“Our sevens is usually the one that signals the beginning of the new rugby season. It should be a cracking day, with all the teams expected to field strong sides in what has become known as the unofficial curtain-raiser of the new rugby season.”

This year’s Peebles event will maintain its usual three-team, four-pool format and will see all of the Kings sides travel to The Gytes, with the exception of Earlston – replaced by BT Premiership outfit Heriots – with one major difference.

All the teams involved this year will be able to feature 12 players, up from the previous 10, in their match-day squads with rolling substituted permitted for the first time in Kings history. The change was hinted ahead of a Border League meeting and is one of the first major shake-ups to the oldest sevens competition in the world in recent years.

“The Borders rugby council listened to what clubs and players wanted and the new 12-player and rolling subs change will be great for all involved,” added King. “Saturday sees 12 terrific clubs involved. All will be bringing very strong sides and, with the new rules, the competition will be that bit more fierce and competitive.”

The event will be running alongside a ladies day and will feature concession stands, a beer marquee, hospitality, a president’s tent and sponsors’ area. The event will also feature a Scottish Government initiative to enhance driving safety – ‘VR Drive’ – along with Borders Segway Trips.

In the build-up to the final, two Peebles mini-rugby matches between P6 and P7 will take place.

After the sevens action has finished, there will be live music from 7.30pm until late.

The Peebles 7s full draw: Pool A – Selkirk v Gala, Selkirk v Melrose, Gala v Melrose.

Pool B – Watsonians v Hawick, Watsonians v Jed-Forest, Hawick v Jed-Forest.

Pool C – Biggar v Edinburgh Accies, Biggar v Heriot’s, Edinburgh Accies v Heriot’s.

Pool D – Peebles v Kelso, Peebles v Berwick, Kelso v Berwick.

The opening pool tie will kick-off at 2pm.