Seven Edinburgh outfits will head to the Greenyards tomorrow aiming to become the first Capital team for 14 years to win the famous Ladies Cup at the 126th staging of the Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens.
Boroughmuir in 2002 were the last Edinburgh club to lift the trophy and they will be joined by Watsonians, Edinburgh Accies, Currie, Stewart’s Melville and Heriot’s in addition to pro-team Edinburgh Rugby at the birth place of the abbreviated game.
Glasgow Warriors have won the event the past two years but are not involved this year, with the Edinburgh squad, who will be coached by recently retired stalwart Roddy Grant, hoping to follow in their pro-team rivals’ footsteps.
Former back-rower and Scotland sevens star Grant, who was forced to end his career at the turn of the year aged just 29, has swiftly moved into the coaching ranks and has been assisting at London Scottish on a short-term deal as part of the link up with the SRU which has seen Sean Lineen become director of rugby.
Grant, who played more than 130 times for Edinburgh, was forced to hang up his boots with a knee injury and announced his retirement on Boxing Day. He enjoyed a stellar international sevens career for Scotland, playing on the IRB circuit and 2014 Commonwealth Games. He also played a couple of Melrose Sevens himself with Gala and is relishing taking a squad, which could include Scotland 7s stars such as Damien Hoyland and Chris Dean, to the world famous tournament.
Stew-Mel could be Edinburgh’s first opponents if they can see off GHA in the first round.
Heriot’s have two big finals coming up in the BT Cup and Premiership, so hold back some of their big names.
On the 20th anniversary of their last triumph at Melrose, Watsonians, who won both the Gala and Haddington Sevens last weekend, could face French development side Seventise if they can see of Kelso.
The other invitational side this year is Belguim.
The main stand is sold out and only a few seats in the west stand were available yesterday. Ground and enclosure tickets can be bought on the day (£20/£27 adults; £15 seniors, £10 under-15s; £50 family ticket for two adults, two children).
126th Aberdeen Asset Management Melrose Sevens draw
First round: Howe of Fife v Edinburgh Accies; Peebles v Boroughmuir; Hawick v Selkirk; Glasgow Hawks v Aberdeen Rugby; Kelso v Watsonians; Currie v Dundee High; Marr v Stirling County; GHA v Stewart’s Melville.
Second round: Howe of Fife/Edinburgh Accies v Ayr; Peebles/Boroughmuir v Gala; Hawick/Selkirk v Jed-Forest; Glasgow Hawks/Aberdeen Rugby v Belgium; Kelso/Watsonians v Seventise; Currie/Dundee High v Melrose; Marr/Stirling County v Heriot’s; GHA/Stewart’s Melville v Edinburgh Rugby.
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, T Drennan, J Winks, A Glashan, M Love, S Melvin-Farr, J Paterson, R Seydak, B Appleson, J Evans.
Boroughmuir: M Johnstone, M Walker, D Steele, G Welsh, S Johnson, G Cannie, A Rose, C Keddie, R Bradford, D Reekie.
Watsonians: M Bertram, E Miller, R Drummond, J Ferguson, A Chalmers, S McKean, R Steele, S McLeod, DJ Inness, A Davidson.
Currie: T. Brook, T Gordon, S Ainslie, L Crosbie, R Nelson, C Shiel, R Sneddon, C Gray, H Elms, J Semple.
Stewart’s Melville: H Lindsay, A Greig, D Wood, E Bowen, M Hanning, S Murchie, J Savage, C Bethan, A Howie, R Mitchell.
Heriot’s: R Van Heerden, C Mulligan, D Mason, A Simmers, R Carmichael, J Laird, H Boisseau, C Smith, J Webster, A Henderson.
Edinburgh Rugby (probable): W Helu, A Strauss, D Hoyland, C Dean, N Fowles, S Beard, S Tofilau, O Katoa, H Fraser, T Galbraith.