Flying the flag at Sevens

Assistant referee Bob Nevins will be running the line at the Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow
Assistant referee Bob Nevins will be running the line at the Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow

Rugby linesman Bob Nevins is preparing to wave the flag for Scotland, and the Borders, at the forthcoming World Cup Sevens in Moscow.

Nevins, who is 49, and who comes from Etal near Berwick, has been officiating for over ten years now and is regularly seen running touch at games throughout the region.

But now he is brushing up on his Russian after landing the plum role at the tournament which is being held in June.

“I knew I was on the short-list,” he said, “but there was still a sense of anticipation when I received the e-mail confirming my selection.”

Nevins is well known in local rugby circles, having been involved in the game for almost 40 years.

“I started out as a player when I was only 10,” he said. “I spent my entire playing career at Berwick, and went through the ranks, eventually playing for the seconds (The Bears).

“When it came to time to retire I had to look at other things. I did a bit of junior coaching, but it was when I bumped into Refereeing Development Officer Bill Calder, who pointed me in the right direction, that things started to take off.”

Over the years Noble has run the line at a number of high profile games and competitions including the Hieneken League, as well as travelling to tournaments in Bangkok and New York.

This weekend he is also due to run touch at the Scottish Cup Final between Melrose and Ayr at the national stadium at Murrayfield.

“Being a rugby official can be as time consuming, or not, as you want,” said Nevins, who works as a forestry manager on Ford and Etal Estates.

“You can do games every week if you want, or only once a month if that suits.

“I really enjoy it, and who knows where it will take me in the future.

“For the time being all I am thinking about is organising my Visa so I can get to Moscow, because I am sure it will be a great experience.”

Nevins is one of four SRU officials who will be travelling to the World Cup Sevens.

He will be joined on the plane by referee Kevin Wilde, fellow assistant Adrian Graves and Alex Pratt, a female referee, who will be whistling at the Women’s World Cup Sevens which will be run in conjunction.

“It’s a great honour,” he said, “and I am really looking forward to it.

“But I couldn’t have got to this level without the help and support of my family and friends, my employers, and of course Berwick Rugby Club, the SRU and the Borders Refereeing Society.

“As we have seen recently, there is a shortage of referees in the Borders and I would urge anyone who is thinking about taking it up to come forward - they will find it very rewarding.”