Thrilling squad selection lights up Melrose Sevens

Ross McCann scores a try for Melrose in the final last year of their Sevens tournament against Watsonians - who sunk their hosts with a late, late victory (library image by Alwyn Johnston)
Ross McCann scores a try for Melrose in the final last year of their Sevens tournament against Watsonians - who sunk their hosts with a late, late victory (library image by Alwyn Johnston)

The showcase event in sevens rugby returns to south-east Scotland this weekend, with a rich assortment of clubs gathering at The Greenyards.

The Aberdeen Standard Investment Melrose Sevens blends a bunch of top Scottish league clubs with several intriguing guest line-ups from home and abroad.

Eight teams have a bye to the second round, with 16 others battling out an appetising series of first-round games.

For the host club, it’s a chance to make a big impact, as they sign off from the Premiership for the uncharted territory of the Super 6s.

Melrose’s name is not on the Premiership trophy this year, nor will it be on the Scottish Cup, which is fairly unusual by their standards. But head coach Rob Chrystie said the club would be better for it and it would help them re-focus.

Of the 7s, he said: “Everybody in their home 7s wants to give a good account of themselves, and we will be no different. With it comes a little bit of pressure but the key thing is to go out and enjoy it. It’s a funny game, though. It’s only 14 minutes – a couple of incidents and you are either away from a team or you are under a bit of pressure.”

Melrose will first play either Stirling County or Edinburgh Accies and Chrystie said they would take things cautiously: “The winners of that will have had a tie under their belt, which is sometimes a good thing. They are up and running and have had a wee flavour of the atmosphere out there. We will not look any further than that game.”

First round draw: Peebles v Heriot’s (winner to play London Scottish), GHA v Selkirk (winner v Stellenbosch University), Boroughmuir v Hawick (winner v Jed-Forest), Currie v Glasgow Hawks (winner v Watsonians), Kelso v Marr (winner v Tiger Rugby USA), St Andrews University v Gala (winner v British Army), Ayr v Edinburgh Accies (winner v Durham University), Edinburgh University v Stirling County (winner v Melrose).