The man who has played the most World Series events ever for Scotland will be guesting for London Scottish in the Melrose Sevens today.
Twenty-four teams will descend on The Greenyards for the famous event sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments, with London Scottish’s ranks boosted by Scott Riddell’s inclusion.
The 33-year-old forward has played in a record 73 tournaments for Scotland on the World Series circuit – the most recent being in Vancouver just last month – and his experience will be key for the English club.
With the first XV playing an important English Championship match with the Cornish Pirates this afternoon, the sevens squad that has arrived in the Borders has been put together hastily.
However, they did manage a training session in Edinburgh yesterday and, along with Riddell, they have fellow Scotland Sevens cap Fraser Lyle captaining them and young Scotland Sevens core player Josh Henderson involved.
“Having Scott available to play for us is massive,” Lyle, who is currently a player/coach with the club, said.
“He is a very experienced guy and he knows the game of sevens inside out, so I have just said to the more inexperienced guys in our squad to learn from him and enjoy the experience.”
London Scottish will await the winners of the Heriot’s and Peebles first-round tie in the last 16.
Three other invitational teams – Tiger Rugby from the USA, the British Army and Stellenbosch University – will also enter at the second-round stage. Tiger Rugby will play either Kelso or Marr, with the Army taking on the University of St Andrews or Gala.
South Africans Stellenbosch await GHA or Selkirk and it is interesting to note that they and St Andrews are among four university teams in the draw.
The University of Edinburgh start in round one against Stirling County while Durham University are in round two. There they might meet last week’s Gala Sevens winners Edinburgh Accies.
Last year’s winners Watsonians have former Scotland Sevens cap Michael Fedo back for this one while Melrose will hope playmaker Craig Jackson is in top form.
Meanwhile, before the final is played the University of Edinburgh and Durham University play in a women’s sevens exhibition match.
Melrose Sevens draw (first tie 11.30am)
Peebles v Heriot’s
GHA v Selkirk
Boroughmuir v Hawick
Currie Chieftains v Glasgow Hawks
Kelso v Marr
University of St Andrews v Gala
Ayr v Edinburgh Accies
University of Edinburgh v Stirling County
London Scottish v Peebles or Heriot’s
Stellenbosch University v GHA or Selkirk
Jed-Forest v Boroughmuir or Hawick
Watsonians v Currie Chieftains or Glasgow Hawks
Tiger Rugby USA v Kelso or Marr
British Army v University of St Andrews or Gala
Durham University v Ayr or Edinburgh Accies
Melrose v University of Edinburgh or Stirling County