Pro. players happy to put their weight behind Selkirk

WHEN it was announced that each club in BT Premiership Divisions One and Two were to be allocated professional players this season, there were predictable moans about some clubs being better off than others. However, now that the allocations have been made public, few criticisms have been voiced after what appears to be a fair and equitable distribution of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Borders players.
Selkirk has been allocated four players — Colin Stewart, Jono Stuart and Matt Taylor from the Borders, plu ex-Selkirk player Alistair Dickson from Edinburgh — and it looks as though all the parties involved are delighted with the new arrangement.
Indeed the four seasons Ally Dickson spent at Philiphaugh, before moving to Melrose, remain a special period in his rugby career. “I’m delighted to renew my association with Selkirk,” the 25-year-old pro. player told us from his Innerleithen home this week. “I really hope I get the chance to pull on a Selkirk jersey this season, as it was always my intention to come back and play at Philiphaugh at some point.
“I still keep in touch with some of the boys I played alongside, such as Guy Blair, Darren Hoggan and Alister Heatlie, so they keep me up to date with what’s going on at the club. I’d certainly like to come along to training sessions, if the coaches would like me to.” Ally is now in his third year with Edinburgh, and last season made a significant breakthrough by winning a place in the Scotland A side against Italy. He is in the final year of a three-year contract with Edinburgh, with an option to stay, but will not make any decision until later in the year.


Meanwhile Borders lock forward Colin Stewart (known as Big C), is another player who knows Selkirk well, having competed against the club on numerous occasions as an East Kilbride player. “Being allocated to Selkirk is great,” Colin told after finishing a training session on the back pitches at Netherdale. “In fact I’ve just bought a flat in the town, so the move has tied in perfectly. It looks as though you’ve got a lot of young, up-and-coming players in the squad, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the team goes this year.”
Before signing for the Borders, Colin was a Glasgow player for two years, and has represented Scotland at under-21 and u-19 level. He is really enjoying his time in the Borders, and has high hopes of making a big impact on the pro. scene this season. He is engaged to Hannah Eccleston, and at the moment is commuting between East Kilbride and Galashiels, a situation that will resolve itself when he moves into his new Selkirk home.

Ally Dickson . . . fond memories of Selkirk.

Colin Stewart . . . has bought Selkirk flat.

The third member of Selkirk’s professional quartet is Jono Stuart, a 27-year-old centre who returned to the Borders from South Africa this week, where he and his wife Catrin spent their honeymoon after tying the knot on July 19. He and his wife have set up home in Darnick.
“I was affiliated to Selkirk last season,” Jono told us, “but it wasn’t on such a formal basis as this year’s allocation. I attended the Scots Night at Philiphaugh in January, and got know a few club members, so I’m really looking forward to strengthening these ties in the months ahead.”
Jono, who was born in East Yorkshire but is Scotland-qualified, spent three seasons with Glasgow, and prior to that had spells with Leicester Tigers and Paris. He was capped at under-21 level for Scotland, and is looking forward to a big year with the Borders. “We’ve got a great season ahead of us, especially now that we’ve qualified for the European Cup. There’s a great atmosphere in the squad, and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
The final pro. player to be allocated to Selkirk is also the one who looks the most likely to be first to pull on a Selkirk jersey. Aussie flanker Matt Taylor has been sidelined by a foot injury picked up in the Borders’ Parker Pen Challenge Cup match against Montauban at Netherdale (ironically a game played on Friday the 13th). “It turned out to be a bone separation, which was a difficult injury to diagnose,” Matt told the website, “but after four months of rehab. I underwent surgery in Glasgow, and I’m due to get the plaster off this Friday.
“Obviously I’ll need some comeback games, so there’s a fair chance I’ll be lining up for Selkirk at some stage in the coming weeks. I know a handful of Selkirk guys, including your SRU rep. Norrie Douglas, while Basher Inglis has been good enough to drive me up to Edinburgh on several occasions for physiotherapy sessions.”
Matt, who is 30, and like Jono Stuart stays in Darnick, was a physical education teacher before becoming a professional rugby player. He took the field against Selkirk while an Aberdeen GSFP player, after which he spent two years with Edinburgh Rugby. Originally from Brisbane (where he played for the Sunnybank and Souths clubs), both Matt’s parents come from Scotland, and he has represented both Scotland A and the Australian Barbarians.
All four of Selkirk’s allocated players can expect a warm welcome at Philiphaugh in the months ahead, and the website will be giving users of this site regular updates on their progress in the professional ranks throughout the season.

Jono Stuart . . . can’t wait for new season to start.

Matt Taylor . . . is likely to start for Selkirk soon.


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