RORY Hutton has played sevens in Dubai, South Africa, Wellington, San Diego, Hong Kong, Adelaide and Singapore.
And he might continue to experience that continental feeling tomorrow at the Greenyards.
The 25-year-old was a mainstay in the Scotland Sevens squad and he is continuing to show the talent and flair that saw him selected in the national set-up.
Should his Greens outfit make it past Langholm in their opening tie tomorrow they will face French cracks Clermont Auverne, who will be making their first appearance at the Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens.
But, while Hawick have hardly set the heather alight at the region’s showpiece event in recent years, he said they have nothing to fear after running Gala close in their tournament last weekend.
He told the Hawick News: “I’ve been to the semi-finals at Melrose when I was with Heriot’s but I’ve struggled to progress far with Hawick.
“It would be great to go far in the tournament. In recent years we’ve had a good sevens side but we’ve underperformed and it would be good to show what we can do on a big stage.
“The atmosphere’s great. It’s a great chance for a lot of players in front of the biggest crowd they’ll ever play, and it’s definitely up there with the international events.”
Neil McIlroy, Clermont team manager, is an avid follower of the Borders sevens circuit and is already setting his sights on a final appearance.
“The fantastic reputation of the tournament is widespread and it is an honour for us to send a team to represent Clermont, and indeed France,” he said. “I have told the club of the fine traditions of Borders sevens, epitomised at Melrose, and of the warm welcome that awaits them, both on and off the field.
“I hope that the tournament, for which I have fantastic memories, goes well and would like to sincerely thank Melrose RFC for the opportunity and here’s to a Clermont v Jed-Forest final!”
English Premiership winners Saracens will return to defend the title they won in style last year, with Worcester Warriors and India completing the guest list.
Scottish clubs also competing for the prestigious Ladies Cup will be Gala, Hawick, Jed-Forest, Kelso, Langholm, Peebles, Selkirk, Ayr, Boroughmuir, Currie, Heriots, Watsonians, Aberdeen Grammar, Dundee HSFP, Glasgow Hawks, Edinburgh Accies, Stewart’s Melville, Stirling County and Howe Of Fife. Hosts Melrose complete the 24-team draw.
Melrose Sevens convener, Ian Cooper, says he is delighted at the calibre of the sides his committee has been able to attract to this year’s tournament.
“With Clermont Auvergne eager to make their mark, together with strong sides from Saracens and Worcester, I feel that any one of a dozen sides is capable of winning the tournament,” he said.
“Add to that the unknown dimension of India and I believe we can look forward to yet another outstanding afternoon of top quality sevens rugby.”
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of the main sponsor, commented: “Aberdeen Asset Management is proud to be associated with such a historic and much loved tournament.
“The Melrose Sevens attracts teams from not only Scotland, but from all parts of the world, with players keen to perform in the town where the sevens game was born. It is a special day for players and supporters alike and it is great to be involved.”
The tournament will be supervised by a team of seven top Scottish referees – David Changleng, Rob Dickson, Iain Heard, Neil Paterson, Cammy Rudkin, Andrew McMenemy and Peter Allan, supported by ten referees’ assistants and in-goal-area judges to be appointed by the Borders Referees Society Appointments Panel from qualified referees from within the Borders area.
Melrose RFC is pleased to welcome Alex Pratt, top SRU lady referee among the officials for the first time.
The draw for the 2013 Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens:
Stirling v Kelso - winners v Ayr
Currie v Boroughmuir - winners v Worcester
Stew Mel v Gala - winners v India
Langholm v Hawick - winners v Clermont Auvergne
Watsonians v Glasgow Hawks - winners v Melrose
Selkirk v Aberdeen - winners v Jedforest
Edinburgh Accies v Howe of Fife - winners v Heriot’s
Dundee v Peebles - winners v Saracens
First tie 11.30am.