Women take centre stage at Melrose

Saturday’s 126th playing of the Melrose Sevens featured five Scotland Women internationalists playing their part in the event.

pic above: Robertson, Rollie, Thomson and Harris

Immediately prior to the final, Melrose Ladies took on their counterparts from Ayr, the Greenyards side winning, 34-5, to lift the Gentlemen’s Cup.

Fullback Chloe Rollie, winger Lauren Harris, centre Lisa Thomson and stand-off Nicola Halfpenny lined up in the black and yellow of the home side, the ladies’ invitational match being staged for the fifth time at the historic Melrose event.

Rollie, a former Melrose player now with Murrayfield Wanderers, and Thomson are both BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 2 players who, along with Harris, were heavily involved in this year’s 6 Nations. Halfpenny, who holds eight international caps, made her debut in 2010 and, along with Thomson and Harris, still plays for Melrose.

Their combatants on Saturday, Ayr Ladies, also featured a number of players who are coming through the Scotland Women under-20 development programme.

Following their game and after lifting the silverware, Harris said: “It's a really good opportunity to showcase women's rugby. This is the 5th year that we have played before the men's final, with the last four matches being played against Stirling.

“It's always a honour to play at the Greenyards but especially at Melrose Sevens, in front of a crowd larger than most of us have experienced before.

“It was a good match for us, Ayr were strong physical opponents but we were fortunate to play well as a team which opened up gaps for us to exploit.

“A lot of spectators commented afterwards and were impressed with the quality of women's rugby. It's always good to be able to publicise women's sport and being given the opportunity to do that at an event like Melrose Sevens is fantastic.”

Thomson, in her second year of competing for the Gentlemen’s Cup added: “It keeps you going, playing in front of such a big crowd and it’s great to see so many people cheering the women’s game on!

“Our game went well. We played our game plan, we were patient and moved the ball wide and we got the result we wanted!”

Meanwhile, wearing contrasting team colours and in an altogether different role, Scotland Women prop Lisa Robertson was kept busy throughout the day as medical support for Borders tournament finalists, Jed-Forest – the team were narrowly edged in the last match by Edinburgh Rugby.

Written by
Isobel Irvine