Final curtain beckons for Reivers
May 11, 2007
Ross Beattie is willing the end to arrive for the Border Reivers after admitting the final weeks of the club's existence have been agonising.
The title-chasing Ospreys are the visitors to Netherdale tomorrow evening as the Magners League season comes to a tantalising climax.
However for the Borders, who are rooted to the foot of the table and will be closed down by cost-cutting Scottish Rugby Union bosses, there will be little cause for celebration.
More likely it will be a case of putting the club out of their misery.
Flanker Beattie claims the final whistle tomorrow will signal the start of a ruinous decline for the game in the region.
``Come the 80-minute mark tomorrow, it will be a weird time for everyone involved with the club,'' Beattie, 29, told PA Sport.
``To be honest it's just a terrible thing that has happened.
``It's frustrating more than anything for a lot of people - for people at the club, for players, and for supporters of the club who have been rallying together since the announcement.
``It's very frustrating for all those involved. They see a future here and it's going to ruin rugby in the Borders region. There's talk of starting up another team in a year or so, but we don't know which way it'll go. It's hard to take on.''
Borders may exist as more than a footnote in Scottish rugby history, but Beattie still believes the club have been shut down too soon.
``There have always been rumours that the SRU would want to cut wages, or get rid of one of the sides due to their own debt,'' he said.
``But when I arrived from Northampton and signed a two-year deal last summer, I thought it was a positive sign.
``I was not expecting this. It's been a bit of a farce really.
``We've been constantly struggling against adversity, having training facilities taken away, and marketing opportunities. There's an endless list of things which can upset you.
``But people have difficult jobs to do. People have jobs to sort out financial difficulties, and this is one way of going about that.
``The people here are passionate and they need a professional side.
``This club wasn't given the chance that it needed, and given the 100% backing it needed.''
Few, given the gulf in class and the prize at stake, will expect anything other than a heavy defeat for the Borders in their final match.
Although Beattie stopped short of taking that stance - he remains out of action with a shoulder injury sustained early in his Borders career - the Scotland international paints a bleak picture of the current circumstances.
``It's very difficult for players to stay focused and have something to play for,'' he said.
``There's no carrot dangling at the end. There just isn't going to be a team after Saturday. Everyone has got to try to enjoy themselves and show that pride level.
``But we capitulated against Leinster last week and as soon as you slip up against these teams it causes problems. They pounce and take every opportunity.''
Beyond this season, the bulk of the Borders squad, including Beattie, will join the Glasgow Warriors, after talk of takeovers failed to materialise in their current club being rescued.
``I don't know the ins and outs of the takeover talk. There's been hundreds of rumours,'' said Beattie.
``Some of them sound brilliant, some sound sketchy. You can pin yourself on false hopes and it's hard to bear when they don't come off.
``The boys have dealt well with it, a lot have sorted themselves out. At the end of the day they have to, it's their livelihood.''
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies