Two of Hawick RFC’s most successful players in recent years will return to Mansfield Park next month when their pro teams go head to head.
Best mates Nikki Walker (Edinburgh Rugby) and Scott MacLeod (Newcastle Falcons), who have both been capped 24 times for Scotland, are to take part in a pre-season friendly between the two sides which will be hosted by Edinburgh at their former club on Friday, August 30 (kick-off 7.45pm).
Both players left their beloved green jerseys behind in 2002 when they joined the now defunct Borders professional side. The duo then moved to Wales, where Walker joined Neath Swansea Ospreys and MacLeod played for Llanelli Scarlets. The pals went their separate ways for a spell, but are now living in the same neighbourhood back in Hawick and can’t wait to get back on the Mansfield turf.
“We haven’t played at Mansfield Park since the 2001/2002 season so we are both really looking forward to it without a doubt,” said MacLeod.
“I’ve really missed the old place so it will be nice to be back.”
Having played against each other on several occasions in Wales, and also when MacLeod played for Edinburgh, Walker boasts the bragging rights having beaten his buddy on all occasions bar one.
Not that this gets in the way of the long-standing friendship. MacLeod will be best man at Walker’s wedding on Saturday.
“I’d rather be playing alongside him, but it’s always nice to get one up on him,” added the towering lock.”
Adding spice to the cross-border clash will be the wealth of Scotland stars available to both sides, including Jedburgh’s own Greig Laidlaw, Phil Godman, Mike Blair and Rory Lawson.
Walker said: “It’s great news that the game is heading for Hawick. I’ve so many great memories from playing there before I turned professional so to go back and play against Scott and all the other Scottish boys will make for a cracking match.
“Hopefully, the Borders rugby fans will come out in force to support the match.”
Tickets are available to purchase at Mansfield Park, in advance and on the night, and online at www.edinburghrugby.org