One of the region's biggest tournaments has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, organisers have announced.
Melrose Sevens was due to take place from 9-12 April but has been called off. Organisers say they are "not willing to take any chances" holding the event this year, given the increased threat of Covid-19.
It's the oldest sevens tournament in the world, and attracts crowds of up to 15,000 every year. Several tournaments take place across the weekend, as well as a concert and quiz.
The annual event is worth thousands to the Scottish Borders economy, a cost which Melrose bosses say will "hurt the club".
All tickets will remain valid until the tournament is rescheduled.
A Melrose Rugby Ltd spokesperson said: “We understand this will be a bitter disappointment for everyone involved. All the hard working volunteers here at the club who have been preparing so hard for this year’s expanded Melrose Sevens festival are saddened and frustrated to be postponing, but health must always come first.
“Melrose Rugby Ltd will now engage with all the teams and sponsors involved, and work with all parties to agree a date later this year that works for everyone. We would like to thank the Scottish Borders Council and the SRU for their tremendous support in this unprecedented situation. To be clear, we’re not contemplating cancelling the event at this time; just postponing to another date.
“Postponing the Melrose Sevens will hurt the club financially as there are irretrievable and uninsurable costs. However we will get through this. This is a fast moving situation and we cannot plan with absolute certainty at the moment, so we would ask everyone who has purchased a ticket to be patient while we make alternative arrangements.
"We can confirm all tickets purchased will be valid for a rearranged date and we will communicate those details as soon as we are in a position to do so.”
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