HAWICK HEROES TOAST WITH 7 UP

The South celebrate their win last weekend
The South celebrate their win last weekend

The South are rising again as the invitational Borders team turned in a masterful performance to take the Braidholm sevens, while Linden and Harlequins put in valiant efforts at Walkerburn.

In their maiden sevens tournament since they were re-established at the beginning of the 2016/17 season, The South showcased the exceptional Borders sevens talent by dominating at the Braidholm event on Saturday.

The team rarely play matches these days, but in the glory days of the last century The South was a huge name in rugby circles, often playing matches against the touring sides of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and others as well as Inter-District matches against teams from Glasgow, Edinburgh and the North Midlands.

Professionalism changed the road map of rugby forever in the 1990s and games involving a full 15-a-side team dried up until recent years when The South took on The Barbarians and beat them, as well as victories against Northumberland and Caledonia.

Last year The South 7s team was reactivated and they were beaten finalists at a classy Newcastle Falcons event.

This summer ,The South have committed to two tournaments and the prestigious event on Saturday in Glasgow featured some top names from Scottish Club rugby playing under the banner of various invitational sides.

The South won all of their three games in their pool, coming from 0-17 down in their match against SAMH to clinch the game at the death.

They produced another comeback in the cup semi -final when a 100 metre dash to the line by Ross Combe secured

their place in the final with the last play of the game, squeezing past Commonwealth Crusaders 26-22.

The talented squad of 12 featured top names from the Borders clubs, but when you’ve come together literally on the day, it takes a while for players to gel, and it was clear by the time they got to the final they had clicked.

“To be vice-captain and represent the borders is very special to me and for us to play the way we did and win was a perfect way to cap a great weekend,” said Hawick’s Bruce McNeil, who joined Keith Davies and new Greens signing Guy Graham as the Hawick representatives in The South squad.

“It wasn’t hard to see that most of us have been playing sevens regularly.

“Some of our defensive performances were outstanding and bailed us out of a couple of games, especially the semi-final.

“We had great experience throughout the squad and in the end the final was totally one-sided. We grabbed a couple of early scores, their heads went down and we just piled it on them.

“It was a real privilege to play alongside some boys that I am usually trying to knock lumps out of.

“We all enjoyed ourselves and it really illustrates just how much talent there is in the borders right now.”

Next up for The South is a June trip to the Chester 7s.

While Davies, McNeil and Graham were representing Hawick at the Braidholm event, Hawick Linden and Hawick Harlequins were in action at the Walkerburn sevens.

The two sides did not disappoint, with Linden defeating Ross High 19-12 to book their place in the quarter-finals along with Quins, who dominated Jed-Forest A 24-7.

In the quarter-finals, Linden fought bravely before eventually falling 12-0 to St. Boswells, while Quins put on a show against Earlston with a 24-7 victory.

In the semi-finals, Quins narrowly lost out to eventual tournament winners Haddington 14-12 in a competitive match which could have fallen either way.

The second semi-final was equally as tense as Melrose S and St Boswells battled it out in a free flowing try-fest that the Greenyards side nicked 35-34.

In the final Haddington ran out convincing winners 44-17 over Melrose S.