Lying roughly half an hour south of Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders truly is the heartland of Scottish rugby. For an area with such a relatively small population, it has made an enormous contribution to the game at a national level, as well as supplying so many of Scotland's greatest rugby players.
It was in the Scottish Borders that the world-famous game of rugby sevens was born more than a century ago and where its premier competition is still played each spring.
All of the main towns in the Scottish Borders - Hawick, Selkirk, Melrose, Jedburgh, Kelso, Galashiels and Peebles - have a local rugby team who compete in the various Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) leagues. All the club league games make for a great spectator experience but there’s always a special edge when any of the Borders teams go up against each other.
As the renowned rugby commentator and famed Borderer – Bill McLaren once described it, “To see a Borders rugby game is to witness the intensity, fervour, rivalry and spirit of the Scottish Borders".
The season fixture list can be found on the SRU website.
The club season runs from August until March, when the local sevens tournaments begin, with the season ending in May. Most of the larger Borders towns host sevens tournaments or ‘Sports‘ as they’re known locally, with the coveted ‘Kings of the Borders‘ title up for grabs for the most successful team overall.
The Melrose Sevens – where the game started, is the most famous sevens tournament and a definite must-see event in the Scottish sporting calendar. Crowds of locals and visitors always turn out in huge numbers for the 'Melrose Sports', not just because of the consistently high quality of the play on the field itself, but because of the brilliant carnival atmosphere that also accompanies it in the town.
Explore the Borders
After the tournament, why not take some time to explore the surrounding Scottish Borders countryside? The area is dotted with picturesque market towns, historic sites - including the great ruined abbeys - plus some of the best walking and cycling to be had anywhere in Scotland.