Seven in a row is target for Hawick
Winger stepping up his comeback after cameo against Blues
KING OF THE SEVENS SERIES After the glamour of the Greenyards last weekend, the Borders Sevens circuit gathers pace this weekend with a double bill,
Hawick host the third leg of the Kings of the Sevens title race at Mansfield Park today while Scremerston is the venue for the Berwick tournament tomorrow.
Hawick have had a firm grip on their own tournament over the past six years and will bid for a seventh straight titletoday. They showed good form at Gala by reaching the semi-finals while they had wins over Howe of Fife and Gala at Melrose last weekend, before succumbing to the power of the hosts.
Hawick must find a way past Jed-Forest, Edinburgh Accies, beaten finalists last week, and Watsonians, unless the guest side Trinidad and Tobago cause an upset.
A boost for the Hawick event this year is that none of the Borders sides, nor title challengers Edinburgh Accies or Watsonians, is in action at RBS Cup Finals day at Cumbernauld today. “It is always a difficult one for us with the cup final on the same day, as we lose some of the teams or they send weakened sides,” said Alan Forest, Hawick Sevens convenor. “This year Heriot’s and Glasgow Hawks have had to pull out.”
Melrose, who lead the Kings of the Sevens title race after two rounds look likely to come through the top half of the draw unscathed. DETAILS Hawick Sevens. Rd 1 Hamilton v President’s VII, Gala v Northumberland, Peebles v Edinburgh University, Hawick YM v Melrose, Jedforest v Hawick, Trinidad & Tobago v Edinburgh Accies, Selkirk v Langholm, Kelso v Watsonians Berwick Sevens. Rd 1 Gala v Morpeth, Northumberland v Watsonians, Earlston v Selkirk, Edinburgh Accies v Melrose, Berwick v Alnwick, Einburgh University v Hawick, Kelso v Peebles, Jedforest v Trinidad & Tobago Kings of the Sevens (after 2 rounds) 1 Melrose 15pts, 2= Hawick & Heriot’s 8pts, 4= Edinburgh Accies & Watsonians 7pts, 6 Gala 5pts, 7= Selkirk, Peebles, Kelso 3pts 10 Jed-Forest 0pts PLANS for the Scotland national team’s summer tour have been given a timely boost with Tim Visser, the winger who topped the RaboDirect PRO12 try-scoring chart for the last three seasons, making his first start for Edinburgh today since breaking hi s leg last October, writ e s Stuart McAllister.
Visser did manage a few minutes off the bench in last week’s defeat to Cardiff Blues but Alan Solomons, the head coach, had no hesitation in slotting him back into the starting team to face Zebre in Parma now that he has proved his fitness. “It’s excellent to have him in the side, though we shouldn’t expect too much from him as this is really his first proper outing,” Solomons said.
While Edi n b u r g h are not arithmetically out of the race for sixth place in the league and a spot in next season’s European Champions Cup – they are 10 points behind the Scarlets with a game in hand – their realistic prospects are close to zero, so their remaining four matches, starting this afternoon, are really more about individuals making a point in a much-changed side.
At lock, injuries mean Ollie Atkins makes rare start and Ben Toolis, a summer signing for the Academy programme, is given his first chance, while his twin brother Alex is on the bench. Carl Bezuidenhout is given a run at fly-half, Wicus Blaauw makes a rare start at loosehead prop, and Sean Kennedy is given his first run-on game since returning from his loan spell with London Irish.
“I think it’s the right time to make a rotation and see what they can do, it’s a good opportunity,” Solomons, said.
With all the significant league prizes out of reach, the rest of the season is a chance for the players to jostle for position ahead of the next campaign, and no role is likely to be more keenly contested than that of scrum-half.
Greig Laidlaw’s decision to head to England with Gloucester has left Kennedy, Grayson Hart, and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne all with realistic hopes of dominating the berth.
Solomons has shown he tends to decide on his top player and field him