FORMER Hawick star John Houston will see out the remainder of his contract with Edinburgh Rugby as part of the Scotland 7s squad.
The arrangement between the pro club and the governing body, which will see Houston playing with the abbreviated national team until spring 2014, is a major boost for Scotland 7s ahead of the Emirates Airline Glasgow 7s on May 4-5 at Scotstoun Stadium.
Houston brings with him a wealth of experience both in 15-a-side and seven-a-side rugby. He has won 12 caps and scored 12 tries with Scotland 7s on the HSBC Sevens World Series, as well as competing in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.
He was also a part of the Scotland 7s team which reached the two Cup semi-finals in the HSBC Sevens World Series in 2009 and the Edinburgh 7s Plate winning side in 2010, their best results to date.
Houston, 30, won 11 caps for Scotland ‘A’ in the 15-a-side arena, and made his debut for Edinburgh Rugby in 2008 against Ulster. He went onto make 88 appearances, 64 starts, and scored five tries.
He said: “I’m really happy to be able to see out my contract with Scotland 7s. I love the game and it will provide me with a new challenge.
“There is a lot of exciting things on the horizon in sevens, with the home Commonwealth Games next year, but we’re fighting for survival in the World Series at the moment and we cannot take our eyes off the ball as we prepare for the Glasgow 7s.
“I’ve learned a lot playing 15-a-side rugby professionally and I believe I can bring the experience of making decisions and performing under pressure.
“The first challenge for me now will be to get to the same fitness levels as the rest of the squad. The demand on the body is different between 15s and sevens, so that’ll take a bit of work.
“I’ve had a fantastic five-and-a half years at Edinburgh Rugby and enjoyed my time there. However, this is the right time for a change and I’m fortunate to be able to join Scotland 7s.”
Gemmell said: “John will bring a lot of experience to this side and is someone who has good leadership on and off the field. He is also a very strong player with a good skill-set relevant to the game of sevens.”