South of Scotland squad chosen for Caledonia Clash

The South of Scotland rugby team will take to the field for the first time in five years when they face Caledonia (Caley Reds) at Riverside Park, Jedburgh on Tuesday 8th November at 7.30pm. It will be only the third time this century that a full South XV made up of club players within the Scottish Borders will wear the famous red and white hooped jerseys.  There is something extra special about this game, because there is a real feeling among many people in the South of Scotland that the time has come to give more opportunities to club players, particularly with no professional rugby in the region, with more matches involving the South of Scotland.  In the last century the Caledonia region went under the name “The North & Midlands” and since 1953 many matches were played between the two district sides.

The squad will be captained by Gala fly half Gregor Hunter with Hawick’s Bruce McNeil vice captain. The 23 players come from Gala (6), Jedforest (6), Hawick (6), Selkirk (3) and Kelso (2). Unfortunately Melrose have made the decision not to support this match and have issued the following statement from President Trevor Jackson:

“Melrose have decided that due to the heavy load placed on the players and the timing of this fixture that it cannot support this particular match. The Border League is important to Melrose, and with the match against Jedforest at Riverside Park on the 11th November following the game against Glasgow Hawks on the 5th November, the turnaround is too tight to do The South justice. Melrose is playing its other Border League match on the 19th against Kelso at The Greenyards, so that all fixtures can be fulfilled in this historic competition.”

The President of the Border League, Billy Grieve, said:  “It will be special to see the South up and running again especially playing against another Scottish District team at a floodlit Riverside Park, which is a superb venue to host the game with its unique backdrop and special atmosphere. The game will give our players and coaches the opportunity to challenge themselves at a higher level and still remain within their local club.”

Captain Gregor Hunter added: “I am incredibly proud. I wasn’t expecting to be chosen as captain but it’s something that is steeped in history and I can’t wait to get out there at Riverside Park. My dad played for the South against the All Blacks and he’s told me about the massive history involved with The South. I think it is great that the team is back.”

Vice Captain Bruce McNeil from Hawick skippered the South team five years ago in a memorable win against the Barbarians and he is looking forward to playing his part again: “It’s a huge honour for all the players who will put on that jersey, and there’s definitely a place for more games involving the South in the future. I think this fixture comes at the perfect time. Most of the clubs are happy to allow their players to get a hit-out at a higher level and support this and I know the Hawick boys involved are really looking forward to it and getting stuck in and get another win ultimately.”

Backs Coach for this game will be Chris Dalgleish, Forwards coach is Kevin Barrie (Jedforest). Chris played for The South team back in the 1990s and spoke about his passion for The South: “It’s a fantastic thing to get involved with and play with other players from other clubs. It’s a special game and a special team. Most of the clubs and players from the region are desperate to play in this match and wanting to show what Borders Rugby is all about.”

Watch our preview here.

The South squad for the match v Caledonia is as follows:

Graham Speirs (Gala), Craig Robertson (Gala), Lewis Young (Jedforest), Darren Clapperton (Selkirk)

Ross Nixon (Selkirk), Lee Armstrong (Hawick), Gregor Young (Jedforest)

Gregor Hunter (Gala) CAPTAIN, Sean Goodfellow (Jedforest), Andrew Tait (Kelso)

Chris Keen (Gala), Shawn Muir (Hawick), Connor Hogg (Jedforest), Bruce McNeil (Hawick) VICE CAPTAIN

Matt Carryer (Gala), Callum MacKintosh (Hawick)

Ian Wallace (Kelso), Gregor Law (Jedforest), Andrew Renwick (Selkirk)

Keith Davies (Hawick) VICE CAPTAIN, Rob Louw (Gala), Stuart Graham (Hawick), Craig Cowan (Jedforest)

COACHES: Chris Dalgleish (Gala) & Kevin Barrie (Jedforest)     TEAM MANAGER: Neil Hinnigan (Kelso)