IT HAS been 18 long years since Selkirk RFC could claim a home-produced international player, but on Saturday that long run will come to an end.
Lee Jones will take to the field at Murrayfield in Scotland’s Six Nations opener against England, carrying the pride of not only his town, but the whole of the Borders on his shoulders. And the popular 23-year-old is more than happy to do so.
He told The Wee Paper: “It’s something I have always dreamed of since I was young and I’m so chuffed to be in the team.
“I knew I had been playing and training well, but it was still a bit of a surprise.”
Jones found out about his selection on Sunday when head coach Andy Robinson revealed the team on a large flip pad.
“My heart was going pretty fast and I just couldn’t take my eyes of my name,” he added.
He was back in Selkirk this week, visiting his proud mum and dad, Michael and Maureen and younger sister Nikki, before taking part in what will almost certainly be the biggest game in his young life.
He told us: “I get pretty nervous before any game and this one will be no different.”
Jones added: “The other guys in the team, and in particular my Edinburgh clubmates, have been a great help, though, and I can’t wait to get out there on Saturday. I am just going to try and soak it all in the best I can and do the job.”
The Edinburgh Rugby wing is the debutant in the team with his city colleagues David Denton and Ross Rennie starting in the competition for the first time.
The trio are joined by experienced and battle-hardened campaigners
Scotland are striving to win their opening match in the championship for the first time since 2006.
When announcing his selection for the Calcutta Cup match on Tuesday, Robinson said: “I’ve been pleased with the consistency Lee has shown and he fully deserves to win his first cap.”
Jones has played for all three Scotland age groups and Borders’ under-16 and under-18 teams. Prior to selection for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi he made his debut in international sevens when Scotland opened their 2009-2010 IRB World Series campaign in Dubai in December. He went on to play in the South Africa tournament a week later.
That November, he started for Scotland A against USA Eagles at Netherdale and contributed a brace of tries. And he was back on the wing for the wins over Ireland Wolfhounds and Italy A in early 2011.
The Selkirk High School former pupil is a graduate in mechanical engineering from Heriot-Watt University.
z To date, the Selkirk club has produced a total of 12 Scotland internationalists. The full roll call is as follows: Willie Bryce (1922-24) 11 caps, Jack Waters (1933-37) 16 caps, Jim Inglis (1952) 1 cap, Jock King (1953-54) 4 caps, Ronnie Cowan (1961-62) 5 caps, John Rutherford (1979-87) 42 caps, Iain Paxton (1981-88) 36 caps, Gordon Hunter (1984-85) 4 caps, Gregor Mackenzie (1984) 1 cap, Iwan Tukalo (1985-92) 36 caps, Graham Marshall (1988-91) 4 caps, Scott Nichol (1994) 1 cap.
z As well as his family and many of the town’s rugby supporters, making the trip to Edinburgh on Saturday, Jones will also be joined at Murrayfield by around 50 Selkirk Rhinos. The club had booked the trip ages ago and are now ecstatic that they have a local lad to cheer on. Selkirk RFC, The Wee Paper and the people of Selkirk wish Lee the very best of luck on Saturday.