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History of Melrose Rugby Club

Photo: Greenyards.

Melrose Football Club, winners of
the Ladies' Cup at Melrose, April 1883


The Melrose Club was founded in 1877, and was elected to full membership of the Scottish Rugby Union in 1880. In the early years the club's achievements were fairly modest. Their first Border League success came in 1910-11 and their second in 1938-39. Since the Second World War, however, Melrose have remained among Scotland's leading clubs. The unofficial championship was won in 1951-52, 1962-63 and 1966-67 and the Border League won five times between the war and 1971.

League rugby was introduced to Scotland in 1973 at a difficult time for Melrose and in the early years of the competition the club often struggled in the relegation area of the 1st Division. Twice they were relegated but on both occasions came straight back as Division 2 Champions. The 1980s saw a steady improvement, with Melrose finishing third in 1987-88 and winning the championship in 1989-90. This victory was followed by the most consistently successful period in the club's history with successful championship wins in 1992, 1993, 1995 and five successful Border League Championships.

Photo: Greenyards.

The Greenyards, home of Melrose
Rugby Football Club

The inaugural Tennents Premiership was also won in 1996 following a points differential win over Stirling County, and again in 1997. In 1997 Melrose also won the SRU Tennants national Cup - the first team to win this trophy and the Border League Championship, as well as the Melrose Sevens Cup - all in all the most successful season ever for the Club.

Melrose have provided 22 internationalists. Craig Chalmers, our present club coach, is the most capped with 60 caps, followed by Keith Robertson, who gained 44 caps. Other caps include Jim Telfer, who had a tremendous influence over the club's fortunes as a player and coach, and is now coaching The Wasps our semi-junior
team. Jim is also a former Director of Rugby for Scotland and British Lions coach. With the advent of professional rugby several former players have represented Scotland at both fifteens and sevens including Kelly Brown (15s) and Calum MacRae (7s). In addition, Melrose have provided 11 "Club Internationalists" since this level of the game was introduced, with five in the starting line-up for season 2009-10.

The Melrose Club's most notable contribution to the game was the introduction of seven-a-side rugby. In 1883, to raise funds for the club, the first tournament was played - the idea being credited to Ned Haig, a player at the time. Sevens are now played all over the world but every year on the second Saturday of April the World's Premier Club Sevens takes place at Greenyards.

Melrose Sevens Inducted into IRB Hall of Fame
Photo: Greenyards.

The International Rugby Boards award

presented to Melrose RFC


Melrose Sevens coupled with the name of Ned Haig successfully fought off the opposition to win induction into the International Rugby Boards Hall of Fame. It is testament to founder Ned Haig and the hundreds of volunteers who have helped run the event over the last 125 years.
The club was delighted to receive this accolade, the highest honour that can be awarded within the international rugby community. It now takes pride of place within the clubrooms together with the original Ladies Cup.



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