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In 1986, Emile Signes realized that seven-a-side rugby needed a newly created entity for the faster game. To that end, he created “Atlantis,” to bring together four disparate rugby-playing groups: (1) existing 7s players, (2) young sevens players new to the game, (3) players without any 7s experience, and, (4) players with minimum 7s’s skills.
The crux of the idea was to create numerous sevens ides under the Atlantis banner and distribute them in multiple tournaments. In the first year, eight Atlantis sides participated in five ERU events, utilizing 52 different players. They won two, and all but one team did not advance into the semifinals.
In August and September 1987, Atlantis sent a top side to play abroad in Scottish Border tournaments, the area known as the birthplace of sevens from the first Melrose tournament in the 1880s. It marked the team’s second visit to the UK in that year. Previously, they had gone 3-2, which included an upset victory against Rosslyn Park.
Atlantis would play in two Border events, Selkirk and Kelso, and one tournament in Glasgow, the Minerva Sevens.
Mike Brodie, President of the New York Referee’s Society, acted as tour manager.
The opening game against Kilmarnock proved a disappointment, and after only one match, the visitors were out of the Selkirk event. Walking back to the hotel, the Americans were greeted with “What, out of the tournament already?”
Atlantis fared better in the Minerva event, beating Langholm 16-10 in the opening match. A second win against the Glasgow Accies 24-10 advanced Atlantis into the semifinals against the USA’s bête noire, the Jedforest team. The USA Cougars had lost twice to Jedforest earlier in the year at the Kelso 7s and the Melrose 7s. The third time was no charm as, again, Jedforest defeated Atlantis 10-4.
Kelso was the third and final tournament on the Atlantis Scotland tour. The first opponent was Jedforest, and miracle of miracles, Atlantis triumphed off a stubborn defense. They lost the next match 14-6 against Selkirk.