Booker Border League begins season

The Bookers Border League 2013/14 gets under way this afternoon while there are a number of pre-season rugby fixtures taking place up and down the country with the start of the RBS ­Premiership just seven days away.

In the Border League, won last year by Gala, Melrose take on Selkirk and Hawick YM host Peebles at Mansfield Haugh.

The tournament once again is being played in two pools of four with the final taking place next April.

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In terms of pre-season matches ­Hawick will continue preparations for their return to the top flight when they take on Northern Irish side Ballymena at Mansfield Park.

The Greens have been working hard in pre-season with the RBS Premiership opener against Aberdeen Grammar on 24 August looming large. Hawick won their first pre-season match at Kelso 50-14 last week and will be keen to build on that.

Last year’s double winners Ayr take a trip over the border to Blaydon a week after they were pushed hard by ­Selkirk before winning 15-14 in the Borders.

Gala, runners-up in the top flight last year, are in Edinburgh to take on Boroughmuir with a number of new ­arrivals set to get another outing having played Watsonians last week.

Graeme Young’s Stirling County welcome Dundee HSFP to Bridgehaugh while Edinburgh Accies, under new head coach Jonny Else, travel to ­Myreside to face Watsonians who may feature Allan Jacobsen.

The final top-flight side in action today are Heriot’s who are taking on English side Tynedale.