Grant and Dean to lead Melrose mission

The Edinburgh Rugby 7s team to compete at tomorrow’s (Saturday 9 April) Melrose 7s will be led by a combination of experience and youth, with former player Roddy Grant coaching a squad captained by 22-year-old Chris Dean.

Click here to see full video chat with Roddy on his return to sevens

Following the club’s Bowl win at last weekend’s Gala 7s, this will be the first time an Edinburgh Rugby 7s side has been invited to the prestigious Melrose tournament, first held 134 years ago in the Borders town.

Grant, who has been coaching at London Scottish since being forced to retire through injury on the eve of Edinburgh’s home 1872 Scottish Cup win, is proud to be involved in the backroom team at the event.

He said: “Solly [Alan Solomons] asked me and I jumped at the chance. It’s great to be in Edinburgh colours again and involved in sevens – I haven’t been since the Commonwealth Games.”

Grant, who played numerous times for Scotland on the Sevens World Series, and in the Sevens Rugby World Cup as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games squad, has himself played twice at the Melrose event, though admits his appearances in the maroon of Gala were less than noteworthy.

“The only success I can remotely claim was when I was called in as a sub for the University of the Free State team and they won – so I can say I’ve been on the winning team, although I didn’t play!”

With training continuing for the club as they prepare for next week’s league match against Leinster, opportunities for a sevens’ side to prepare have been limited.

Grant said:

“My role is more a case of getting the guys together and letting them express themselves with ball in hand.

“It’s exciting to have players like Chris Dean and Damien Hoyland in the side, who’ve both represented Scotland 7s and are young, local players, Damien having played for Melrose, too.

“Sevens is a vastly different game from fifteens, however – only the ball and the pitch really stay the same!”

Seasoned World Series Sevens player Dean, who has experienced the Melrose event previously as a club player, is equally delighted to be pulling on the black and red at this year’s tournament.

He said: I’m honoured to be leading a talented team to the Melrose Sevens. It's a great tournament and we are all looking forward to it.

 “I played two years ago for Edinburgh Accies, where we made the final, and thoroughly enjoyed it so jumped at the opportunity to go again.

“I’m looking to go one better this year but anything can happen in sevens so we will take it game by game."

Edinburgh Rugby 7s team for Melrose 7s

1. Chris Dean (c)

2. Andries Strauss (vc)

3. Will Helu

4. George Turner

5. Sasa Tofilau

6. Otulea Katoa

7. Sam Beard

8. Damien Hoyland

9. Tom Galbraith

10. Nathan Fowles

Coach: Roddy Grant
Manager: Stevie Scott

For more information on the Melrose 7s and to purchase tickets click here

Written by
Isobel Irvine