The story of the Melrose Sevens begins in a sleepy Borders town in the 1880s. Local butcher, Adam Ned Haig and David Sanderson adapted the sport of rugby union - played for 80 minutes with two teams of fifteen men - so it could be played with two teams of seven man, for only 14 minutes. This new take on rugby made for a faster and more exciting game, which could offer spectators a full day of matches between different teams.
The Melrose Sevens - or Sports - were first hosted by the club on 28th April 1883. Originally, a Sevens team included a full-back, two quarter-backs and four forwards, but as the game developed the number of forwards were reduced to three and an extra half-back was added. As it is today, the Sports included other events and entertainment, but it was the rugby that drew the crowds. The winning team was awarded a cup by the Ladies of Melrose, hence the name today, the Ladies Cup.
Following the initial success of the Melrose Sevens, other Borders clubs began hosting their own tournaments, which today has become the famous Kings of the Sevens circuit. Teams receive points for their performance at each event and the team with the highest amount receive a prize and the title of Kings of the Sevens.
In the 1920s, Sevens tournaments began to take place outside of the Borders and in 1973 the first sanctioned international tournament took place at Scotlands national stadium, Murrayfield. The first Rugby World Cup Sevens took place in Melrose in 1993 and the World Rugby Sevens Series - which consists of tournaments all over the world - has been contested every year since 1999. Sevens was accepted as an Olympic Sport in 2009 and first played at the 2014 Youth Olympics and then the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Despite the worldwide success of the sport, Melrose still has a large part to play. Our players have played and coached Rugby Sevens for successful Scottish national teams and one individual, Mark Robertson, was part of the Great British team which took the silver-medal at Rio.
The tournament is a major fixture in both the local and international sporting calendar and both players and supporters travel across the world to attend. Many rugby legends have appeared at this prestigious tournament and continue to grace The Greenyards on the second Saturday in April each year. Since 1883, only War has prevented the tournament from going ahead.