Irish test is last chance to cement starting spot

Hawick coach Phil Leck
Hawick coach Phil Leck
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HAWICK coach Phil Leck has revealed he already has a fair idea of his squad for next Saturday’s league opener against Aberdeen.

But he has challenged every player to prove they’re worthy of the position as the Greens entertain Ballymena in their final pre-season friendly this afternoon.

Hawick comfortably disposed of Kelso at Poynder Park last Saturday and Leck is keen for more of the same before their Premiership campaign kicks off in earnest.

He said: “This is a very important game because it’s basically the squad that’s going towards the Aberdeen match, although there’s still a few players away on holiday.

“I’ve pretty much got the squad sorted for the Aberdeen game but there’s 20 players and there’s still time for players to put their hands up.

“We’ve had one pre-season game and I was able to see how different combinations worked, especially in the scrum.”

Tomorrow’s visitors ply their trade in the Ulster League and last season claimed the Ulster Senior Cup.

And Leck is confident his charges will get the test they need ahead of next Saturday.

He said: “They’ll be a big, physical side.

“ They’ve won trophies in their league last year and it’ll be interesting to see how we cope with the different style of rugby.”

Ballymena have boasted several top Irish internationals over the years, among them, British and Irish Lions Willie John McBride, Syd Millar, Trevor Ringland and Steve Smith.

“They’ll be up for it that’s for sure. They’re a proud side from Ireland, similar to ourselves who are a very proud Scottish side, and we’re under no illusions that it’ll be a tough test,” added Leck.