Praise from Leck for star centre Johnstone

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HAWICK coach Phil Leck has described James Johnstone as ‘unbelievable’.

The 23-year-old Glasgow Warriors professional has been a revelation after being picked as part of the drafts system at the start of the campaign.

The former Currie centre was the third player picked by Leck, who admitted he couldn’t quite believe his luck when he got him on board.

Leck told the Hawick News: “James is unbelievable. I think he’s scored five or six tries in three appearances.

“He brings gas. He’s an intelligent player who picks really goo lines and the lads are finding him space to go at teams.”

He added: “The first time I came to Mansfield Park James destroyed Hawick playing for Currie. I’ve watched him progress and my son Chris has been telling me how well he’s been doing.

“I think he was our third choice in the draft and, to be honest, I thought he would’ve gone by then so we did very well to get him.”

Johnstone will be joined in the Greens starting line-up tomorrow against Glasgow Hawks by fellow professional Rob McAlpine, who has been an ever-present for Hawick this season.

And Leck is hoping to see some improvement from last weekend’s disappointing defeat at Aberdeen, particularly in the tackling department.

He said: “We targeted the last three games as wins and we managed to get two. The boys didn’t defend like they did against Heriot’s and we’ve been trying to put that right this week.

“We had a good training session on Wednesday night at Burnfoot which was contact-based and we’ve just gone back to basics.”

Hawks narrowly defeated Hawick earlier in the season and are currently in fifth spot in the Premiership table.

Tomorrow’s match appears to have come too soon for Greens captain Greg Cottrell, who is yet to feature at all this season as he recovers from a shoulder injury.

Leck said: “Greg’s heart is massively Hawick and he’s been doing a lot of work on his fitness, but I think he’s about a week away and I wouldn’t want to risk his shoulder.”