HAWICK have been boosted by the addition of two professionals to their ranks for tomorrow’s Premiership opener against Aberdeen.
Edinburgh stars, stand-off Gregor Hunter, and second row Rob McAlpine, will pull on the green jersey at Mansfield Park.
Hunter, in particular, eases something of an injury crisis for head coach Phil Leck, who is without Rory Hutton for around four weeks after the number ten suffered a knee ligament injury earlier in pre-season.
Leck said: “It gives us experience at this level instead of throwing inexperienced players in at the deep end.
“I’m fairly certain both will pick up what we do fairly simply because we don’t play massively different from the pro sides.”
As well as Hunter and McAlpine, Hawick have also drawn Ross Rennie, Michael Fedo, Chris Leck, Nikki Walker, Ben Atiga, Alasdair Dickinson and James Johnstone in this season’s draft of professional players.
However, Leck is expecting to be without captain Greg Cottrell for up to ten weeks after the scrum half separated his AC joint in last week’s pre-season friendly defeat to Ballymena.
He said: “It’s a huge loss.”
And Cottrell is equally disappointed at missing out on the start of the new campaign.
He said: “It happened when I got tackled. I knew I’d hurt it quite badly.”
Cottrell has had an X-Ray and was this week waiting on the results of an MRI scan to discover the extent of the injury.
He said: “If I don’t need surgery then I could be back in contact within six weeks and back playing in eight.
“I’m gutted because I was looking forward to the start of the new season.”
Rory Scott and Kyle Manson-Cullin are both unavailable but Steven Anderson and Lee Armstrong should feature.