Border Reivers (rugby)
|Full name||Border Reivers|
|Founded||1996 (disbanded 2007)|
|Ground(s)||Netherdale (Capacity: 6,000)|
- See also Border Reivers for the historical background.
Border Reivers, originally known as 'Scottish Borders Rugby' and also known as 'The Borders' were one of four professional rugby union teams in Scotland, alongside Edinburgh, Caledonia Reds and Glasgow Warriors.
Border Reivers were active in the Scottish Inter-District Championship from 1996 to 1998 and in the Celtic League, Celtic Cup and the Heineken Cup from 2002 until 2007 when, as part of the Scottish Rugby Union's cost-cutting measures, they were disbanded. They played their home matches at Netherdale (capacity circa 6,000) in Galashiels, Scottish Borders.
Rugby union in the Borders Regions
Borders Rugby has many long and proud traditions. The Border League was the first rugby union league to be set up anywhere in the world, and a select South team used to regularly compete against touring sides from the Southern Hemisphere.
Many Borders clubs have helped train and nurture many of Scotland’s current internationals.
Border Reivers and Borders Rugby
When the Heineken Cup was suggested SRU officials were concerned that the existing and long established Scottish semi-professional club sides could not compete against the best teams from France and England and that by establishing district sides they would be more capable of advancing professionalism within Scottish Rugby.
Then financial difficulties - the SRU's high debt, partly as a result of the redevelopment of Murrayfield - called for retrenchment. After two seasons, financial difficulties forced the Union to merge the four teams into two. The now renamed "Border Reivers" merged with Edinburgh to form a team to be known as Edinburgh Reivers, causing outrage with many Border rugby fans.
They were resurrected in 2002 as 'The Borders' and joined the second season of the Celtic League.
Since their return as a team in 2002, the Borders failed to challenge for the Celtic League title, however they performed well during the 2005–06, finishing mid-table.
On 27 March 2007, Scottish Rugby Union announced the Reivers were to disband at the end of the season as a cost-cutting exercise. Many fans and sections of the Scottish media have claimed that the Reivers have suffered due to SRU's determination, despite poor crowds and results, to make rugby a success in Glasgow (a city traditionally where football has always been the most popular sport). At the end of the 2006–07 season several Borders players transferred to Glasgow Warriors.
Following the decision by the SRU to disband the Borders Reivers, the Border Reivers Action Group was formed to fight against the disbandment.
However, in April 2007, the Borders Rugby Action Group conceded defeat as the SRU insisted there would be no finance available from the governing body. The action group pledged an attempt to resurrect the team in 2008; however no such attempt was made.
On 19 December 2011 former Scottish internationalist Keith Robertson gave an interview to The Herald newspaper. Robertson claimed that he was in contact with "people in the Borders who are interested in getting involved in funding a professional team". However the interested parties are said to be unwilling to afford any direct shareholding to the SRU. Robertson went on to claim that if the project came to fruition the team would feature many "Borderers" an attribute he felt the defunct Border Reivers lacked.
Notable former players
- Ross Ford (Hooker)
- Bruce Douglas (Prop)
- Gavin Kerr (Prop)
- Scott MacLeod (Lock)
- Opeta Palepoi (Lock)
- Doddie Weir (Lock)
- Kelly Brown (Flanker)
- Semo Sititi (No.8)
- Gary Armstrong (Scrum Half, retired 2004)
- Chris Cusiter (Scrum Half)
- Gregor Townsend (Fly Half)
- Tanner Vili (Fly Half/Full Back)
- Nick De Luca (Centre)
- Ben MacDougall (Centre)
- Simon Danielli (Wing)
- Nikki Walker (Wing)
- Scottish Rugby Union
- Celtic League
- Heineken Cup
- European Challenge Cup
- Border Reivers
- South of Scotland rugby union team
- Alasdair Reid (29 December 2009). "South of Scotland return to showcase Border game with fixture against Northumberland". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Scottish union axes Borders team". BBC News. 27 March 2007.
- Smith, Duncan (3 April 2007). "SRU board stands by its man". The Scotsman. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "Save Reivers group concede defeat". BBC News. 18 April 2007.
- Drysdale, Neil (19 December 2011). "Robertson moots revival of Borders pro club". The Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2016.