As the hours tick by, the 2022 Melrose Sevens Tournament is inching ever closer – with Saturday seeing 26 teams competing for the coveted prize of The 1883 Centenary Cup.
Our very own Co-Optimists, spearheaded by the likes of legends Cecil Afrika and Tom Varndell, get their campaign underway against local side Kelso RFC at 12:10. There’s an abundance of Scottish talent challenging for the title – including the tournament opener between Glasgow Hawks and Musselburgh commencing at 10:50. Other notable first round fixtures include:
Selkirk v Ayr K/O 11:50
Samurai v Heriots K/O 12:50
GHA v Gala K/O 13:10
Edinburgh Accies v Jed-Forest K/O 13:30
Pebbles v Aberdeen K/O 13:50
Marr v Watsonians K/O 14:10
Samurai will most definitely be a team to watch as they are specialists of the abridged version of the game, and are known as the Barbarians of sevens rugby. Their ultimate goal is identical to The Co-Optimists, and that is to go all they. Should the two teams meet in what promises to be a showdown of epic proportions, it will have to be in the cup final kicking off at 19:30, but the history of The Melrose Sevens dictates that there is no such thing as certainty - except perhaps that both teams will be putting everything on the line.
A number of teams have been awarded a first round bye – meaning that they’ll have to wait until mid-afternoon to set in motion their quests for Melrose domination.
Current champions, London Scottish Lions, will enjoy their first round bye alongside the likes of French side Seventise, the British Army, Fijian specialists Lomaiviti, Belgium, and the hosts – Melrose RFC.
The hosts, and 8 time winners of the Kings of the Sevens championship (The ten most prestigious tournaments of the main circuit) are certainly a force to be reckoned with – and many a rugby fan will be eagerly anticipating of a potential matchup between Melrose and Samurai in what could be a hotly contested semi-final (K/O 18:50).
Co-Optimists’ coach Scott Wight’s own Selkirk RFC will be looking to put on a good showing as they are 2-time winners of the Kings of the Sevens championship, but are yet to record a tournament victory at The Melrose Sevens.
The permutations of this year’s tournament are endless, yet one thing remains a certainty: After a brief hiatus due to Covid-19, The 2022 Melrose Sevens promises to be a spectacle – a smorgasbord of rugby ready to delight fans the world over – and The Co-Optimists can’t wait to get started.