Rivalry reignited at Mansfield pro friendly match

HAWICK, SCOTLAND - JULY 23:  'Newcastle Falcons' Scott MacLeod (right) joins Edinburgh's Nikki Walker (left) as they look ahead to their pre-season friendly at Mansfield Park, home of Hawick RFC, next month.'Friday 30 August (kick-off 7.45pm), is the club's last preparation game ahead of the new season and the first to be hosted by the club outside of the capital in over a decade.'(Photo by Rob Gray / Alamy Live News  )
HAWICK, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: 'Newcastle Falcons' Scott MacLeod (right) joins Edinburgh's Nikki Walker (left) as they look ahead to their pre-season friendly at Mansfield Park, home of Hawick RFC, next month.'Friday 30 August (kick-off 7.45pm), is the club's last preparation game ahead of the new season and the first to be hosted by the club outside of the capital in over a decade.'(Photo by Rob Gray / Alamy Live News )
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OVER ten years since their last appearance for Hawick, former Greens duo Nikki Walker and Scott MacLeod are set to go head-to-head in a glamour friendly at Mansfield Park next month.

Hawick has been chosen as the venue for a warm-up fixture between Walker’s RaboDirect PRO12 outfit Edinburgh Rugby and MacLeod’s Premiership cracks Newcastle Falcons.

And they are both looking forward to the match at the venue where they honed their talents before turning professional.

MacLeod said: “I’ve missed the old place so it’ll be nice to be back.”

Walker, who signed for Edinburgh at the end of last season and could make his debut for the club in the game, has previous experience of a pro match at Mansfield, having turned out for the now defunct Borders against Cardiff in 2002.

He added: “There was a good crowd. It was a professional game and it got a good reception so hopefully it’ll be the same for us.”

The pair may also now be neighbours and MacLeod is best man as Walker ties the knot tomorrow.

But their friendship will be put to one side for next month’s match – even if it is just a pre-season game.

MacLeod, in particular, has a score to settle having been on the receiving end too many times during their spells in Wales with arch rivals Scarlets and Ospreys

He said: “It’s just about bragging rights. I didn’t win any in Wales and I pretty much didn’t hear the end of that.

“It’ll be good. I’d rather be playing alongside him to be fair, but it’ll be nice to get one up on him when the Falcons win.”

And Walker, who will also be facing fellow Scottish internationals and Newcastle recruits Mike Blair, Phil Godman, Ally Hogg and Rory Lawson, insisted all the ingredients are there to serve up a cracker.

He said: “It’s a friendly and you’re trying to look after yourself a little bit more. You’re trying to put your case forward for the rest of the season, but I think there’ll probably be a little bit more riding on it for us. Obviously playing against eachother and playing in front of a Hawick crowd again.”

The match, which will take place on Friday, August 30 (kick-off 7.45pm).

Tickets, priced £10 for adults and £5 for senior citizens, students and under-18s, are available to purchase online (www.edinburghrugby.org), on the phone (0131 346 5180) and in person, at the Murrayfield ticket centre and at Mansfield Park, in advance and on the night.