After more than a month of speculation, Hawick RFC have formally announced that former international winger Nikki Walker will take on the role of player/coach for the coming season.
And the 32-year-old can’t wait to get started.
“It’s hard to keep things a secret in Hawick, so it is a relief that everything has been tied up and I can now look forward to getting started with the boys,” he told The Southern.
Walker’s appointment was announced at the club’s AGM on Tuesday night, with around 80 members present.
Still contracted to Edinburgh Rugby, Walker will take over the reins from Phil Leck and will also continue playing with the Greens, after turning out several times last season.
“I am really grateful to Edinburgh for allowing me to do this,” he added.
“My contract there is ongoing, but I am definitely in this with Hawick for the long haul.
“There are long-term plans in motion, not just at Hawick RFC, but involving the whole town, to build a stronger and more sustainable future for rugby in Hawick. That is something I really want to get involved in.”
Walker is looking to have a coaching team of three, as well as receiving some additional help from long-term friend Scott MacLeod, who still plays for Newcastle Falcons.
“Scott is a great help in an advisory capacity and doesn’t need much excuse where Hawick rugby is concerned,” said Walker of his former club and international teammate.
A number of ex-Hawick players are also likely to return to the club, both in playing and coaching roles.
“There is no reason why Hawick players should be playing outside the town and, hopefully, I can attract some of them back,” stated Walker.
A former Hawick High School pupil, Walker helped the Greens complete a domestic double, before joining the Border Reivers in 2002 and later the Ospreys and Worcester, as well as scoring six tries in a 24-cap career.
Also at the meeting, Ross Cameron took over as president, John Thorburn as vice-president and Isobel Cunningham was made a life member.