Hawick coach, Phil Leck, has named the squad who will represent Scotland in the first Club International of the season, against Ireland, this Friday, 7th February, in Cork.
The team is dominated by players from Scottish Champions Ayr, who have five representatives in the starting XV, while Gala, favourites for this year’s title, have a strong presence in the squad as well, with two players in the starting XV and four others on the bench.
Murray Douglas, the athletic and hard working Heriots lock, leads a side which contains only four other players, Gossman, Kelbrick, Jericevich, and Nagle who played alongside him in last years team. On the bench the Graham brothers, George & Gary and Stuart Edwards are also retained from last year’s squad.
The team looks set up to play an open and expansive game, with Will Bordill, the Glasgow EDP flanker attached to Stirling County, a specialist in support running and link playing likely to play a crucial role. Bordill is one of seven EDP players in the squad, including Heriots hooker George Turner, who has had a very impressive club season. Of the newcomers Nyle Godsmark is rewarded for the outstanding development he has continued in the last 18 months since joining Edinburgh Accies from Selkirk, proving himself to be a forceful presence in the back three, with a hunger to sniff out action and bring himself onto play. He is not dissimilar to Tim Visser in some of the angles he chooses to run.
There is also deserved recognition for young Callum Templeton who missed nearly two seasons of rugby while he was an on EDP contract at Glasgow, but who has come back strongly this year, and with his injuries seemingly behind him is again showing the form that made him an outstanding Under 18 internationalist three years ago.
The team is much younger than in previous years, particularly in the forwards; one notable exception is popular Ayr prop Nick Cox. An English youth internationalist in the past, Cox has contributed hugely to the club game in Scotland, both at Hawks and Ayr over the last few years since he came north to study theology; in among the experience potential future pros get through being exposed to this level of rugby, his presence is a reminder that selection for this team can also be a fitting reward for dedicated club service.
Scotland Club International XV v Ireland Clubs XV:
N Godsmark (Edin. Accies); E Oag (Aberdeen Grammar), C Auld (Gala), D Kelbrick, C Gossman (both Ayr); R Mill (Melrose), P Jericevich; G Hunter (both Ayr), G Turner (Heriots), E McQuillan (Gala), M Douglas (Heriots), C Templeton (Ayr), A Nagle (Melrose), J Swanson, W Bordill (Stirling County);
Replacements: G Sommerville (Gala), S Edwards (Stirling County), George Graham, R Sutherland (both Gala), F Scott, N Cox (both Ayr), A Redmayne (Hawks), Gary Graham (Gala)