McNeil to lead Green Machine once more

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Hawick RFC have announced that Bruce McNeil will take over as captain of the Mansfield Park club for the upcoming 2015/16 season, writes Alexander McLeman.

The former Edinburgh professional moves up from the vice-captaincy role he held last year while Rory Hutton moves to vice from being captain for the 2014/15 campaign.

McNeil, who is entering his 10th year with the club over two separate stints, expressed his delight at becoming captain for the second time after leading the club from 2010 through to 2012.

“Head coach Nikki Walker basically phoned me up on Tuesday and asked if I would do it,” explained McNeil.

“It was a big surprise as Rory had done such a great job last year in getting us to the BT Cup final and Border League title – but it wasn’t a decision I needed time to think about.

“It is a huge honour to be able to captain the club again.”

McNeil becomes the Greens’ 122nd captain in the club’s long history, joining such illustrious company as Tony Stanger, Jim Hay, Jim Renwick, Alan Tomes and Colin Deans.

“I was Hawick captain before and also involved in leadership roles with Biggar and Heriot’s when I was away from the club, so I have a bit of experience in this department,” he added.

“I think overall Nikki’s decision to ask me if I would take over was that he wanted a forward as captain, but that doesn’t reflect on what Rory did for last year because that speaks for itself.

“For me, it will mostly be business as usual, but there will be some adding, bits I will take on and have to change slightly, the biggest being my loose following of the rules.

“I know in recent years I have walked the line in terms of discipline, so for me now being captain I cannot give the boys a rollicking about certain onfield things if I am doing the exact same.

“I have been getting better lately, but I do need to lead by example. That being said, rugby is rugby and not much will change.”