Melrose Sevens moves to May Bank Holiday Weekend for 2025

Invitational sides will be "recognised rugby clubs, fielding squads who are club-strength players"

Melrose Sevens will move from mid-April to late-May in a bold move to fit into a packed fixture schedule. Image: © Craig Watson -
Melrose Sevens will move from mid-April to late-May in a bold move to fit into a packed fixture schedule. Image: © Craig Watson -

MELROSE SEVENS will shift away from it traditional mid-April slot in the Scottish rugby calendar and be played on the May Bank Holiday Weekend next year, in a step taken by tournament organisers to avoid a clash with the extended Premiership schedule for 2024-25.

Meanwhile, tournament organisers have revised their strategy for invitational sides to ensure that the tournament is both competitive and attractive for traditional Scottish club teams and their supporters.

With 12 teams in the Premiership for next season only following the disbandment of Super Series, the fixture timetable for 2024-2025 has the traditional Melrose Sevens weekend (second Saturday in April) set aside as a standby date for rescheduled league matches, posing a significant risk of impacting the availability of teams and referees. Therefore, the Centenary Cup will now be played on Saturday 24th May, with a decision on whether to revert back to April from 2026 onwards to be made at a later date, taking into account how the 2025 event unfolds and the fixture schedule for 2025-26.

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The Centenary Cup will once again be a 24 team competition in straight knock-out format and tournament organisers say that there is strong interest in attending the event from club teams in New Zealand, Australia, England and France. However, there is also a recognition that Melrose’s long-standing supporters inside Scotland must be accommodated as the tournament evolves to stay relevant in a quickly changing global sporting landscape.

“Scottish clubs, bolstered by the return of Super Series players, will compete against invitational sides who are recognised rugby clubs, fielding squads who are club-strength players,” said a statement from the Melrose Sevens committee.

“As the tournament builds towards Melrose Rugby club’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2027 and the 150th playing of the Melrose Sevens in 2033, the tournament will be the final leg of the Scottish Borders Kings of the Sevens series with the champions crowned at the home of rugby sevens,” the statement added.

Once again, a four-team pool format women’s tournament will feature some of the best women’s players from Scotland and beyond.

Tournament Director, Phil Morris, said: “We believe this date change will not only alleviate any scheduling conflicts, but also provide an exciting opportunity for fans to enjoy the tournament during a festive bank holiday weekend. We look forward to welcoming rugby enthusiasts from around the world to Melrose for what promises to be another fantastic weekend of rugby.

“We have responded to concerns about semi-pro or specialised sevens guest teams being too powerful with a focus on inviting recognised club strength teams, with the ambition that the Scottish rugby public will continue to enjoy the highest standard of sevens at Melrose, the birthplace of the sevens game.

“We hope both competitions continue to develop rugby sevens, as well as showcasing the heritage and values of the game of rugby here in the Scottish Borders.

“The Melrose Sevens is renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, the attraction of quality teams and spectators from across the globe and we are sure that the 2025 tournament will live up to this legacy.”

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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


    • Melrose thinking about themselves and no one else. Who was due to play their sevens that day? Melrose don’t care

      • Do we get a prize for guessing correctly Elaine or are you going to tell us the answer to your question?

  1. Well done Phil Morris on addressing the concerns around the recent trend towards a multitude of madey uppy teams, many adding little in terms of quality or relevance. The date change is also a welcome development in my view. Good luck with the tournament planning.

    • Its nothing to do with Morris. He wanted invitational teams again but has been overruled. Good to see there’s some people at Melrose who actually listen.

      • Fair enough Big Felly, I can only speak as an outsider and oftentimes critic of Mr. Morris devaluing of the Melrose 7s in recent times, so I welcome this refocus on honouring the tournaments heritage. So, credit where it’s due, or not due as the case might be!

  2. Hmm bank holiday weekend will make it really tough and expensive for visitors to find accomodation. I just looked at the Hotel I stayed in this year and on those dates its £50+ pernight more expensive and that’s booking now. Totally agree with Club level sides the rise of the semi-pro teams makes it very one sided – maybe they could go into a pool of their own and be handicapped in the latter stages?

  3. This is fantastic news! Melrose Sevens is a highlight of the Scottish rugby calendar and the news that the very hard working 7’s volunteers who run the tournament are moving towards inviting recognised club sides (think less Lions and more Rosslyn Park) and club strength players is to be welcomed. This is a real boost for the direction of rugby sevens in Scotland and the challenge is there for Scottish Club sides- go out and prepare well and if you play well, you can go deep into the tournament. Let’s hope the Scottish clubs field their best sides, bolstered by returning Super6 players. With Melrose 7’s concluding the Kings of the Sevens (which starts next month at Peebles!), let’s hope there are four or five teams in contention to win the circuit and it is an exciting finale with the tournament benefiting from being streamed on the BBC and in front of 1000’s of spectators at the oldest 7’s tournament in the world.


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