Pair of new arrivals helps strengthen Selkirk squad

Connor McAulay (second left) and Ciaran Whyte (second right) with Selkirk first XV coaches Michael Jaffray (left) and Fraser Jack.
Connor McAulay (second left) and Ciaran Whyte (second right) with Selkirk first XV coaches Michael Jaffray (left) and Fraser Jack.

Two new players have joined Selkirk’s rugby ranks, strengthening the Philiphaugh club’s playing pool as the build-up to the new season gathers pace.

Ciaran Whyte, a centre, has been playing his rugby for Stewart’s/Melville FP for the past two years.

Hailing from the Isle of Mull, he is a close friend of Selkirk threequarter Douglas Swinbanks, who is also from Mull.

“I’ve been keen to experience Borders rugby for a while now,” said Ciaran.

“So when Douglas told me how much he was enjoying his time at Philiphaugh, it seemed like a perfect fit.”

The 21-year-old is in his fourth year at Edinburgh University, studying to become a PE teacher, and hopes his debut appearance at Philiphaugh will be more enjoyable than his last game there.

“I turned out for Stewart’s/Melville against Selkirk two seasons ago and had to make an early exit from the match after damaging my AC joint,” he recalled.

“It kept me out for three months, so I’m definitely looking to put that particular episode behind me.”

Selkirk’s other new recruit is hooker Connor McAulay, who, to date, has spent his rugby career at the Greenyards, rising from Melrose Wasps to play for the club’s Storm side.

Along the way, the 20-year-old has represented the Borders at U16, U17, U18 and U20 level.

Educated at Earlston High School, Connor works in Hawick for Emtelle UK Ltd, one of the country’s leading suppliers of plastic tubing for telecommunications and water piping.

“I’ve been made to feel very welcome by everyone and the players seem a really good bunch of guys,” he said.

“Pre-season training started a fortnight ago and has been going well. I’m definitely looking forward to the season ahead and I hope I’ll be able to make a positive contribution to the Selkirk club.”

Ciaran and Connor join former Hawick and St Boswells player Rory Smith as Selkirk’s new recruits for season 2016-17, along with seven players from Selkirk Youth Club’s ranks who are now ready to step up to senior level.

The trio’s appearance is particularly timely, given that Selkirk has lost three of its players to BT Premiersip clubs .

Callum Marshall (Heriot’s FP), James Bett (Boroughmuir) and Angus Duckett (Watsonians) have all left the Souters.

In addition, former Selkirk fly-half Cameron Ring has signed a contract with French Federale ‘B’ side US Marmande.

Pictured above, Connor McAulay, second left, and Ciaran Whyte, second right, are welcomed to Philiphaugh by 1st XV coaches Michael Jaffray, left, and Fraser Jack.