Gavin Hastings loved strutting his stuff as a star rugby player in front of thousands of people at the biggest grounds in the world.
He’ll enjoy soaking up that electric atmosphere once again as a spectator during this summer’s British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand as a radio pundit.
But, as has been the case on and off over the past decade or so, the former Scotland captain is looking forward to a change of sporting scenery this weekend.
The 55-year-old is lining up for the British Rugby Club of Paris in the 118th Dispatch Trophy, joining forces with Chris Paterson-Brown, Charlie Maran and Ricky Cowan in the event at the Braids.
“I don’t think I’ve ever taken the Dispatch Trophy in my stride, to be honest,” said Hastings, laughing, as he looked forward to a first-round clash against Munro Bathrooms on this occasion the Golfclubs4cash-sponsored tournament.
“There’s a certain amount of adrenaline that goes around the place and you try and feed off that. Once you get into the middle holes, it’s fine. But those first few holes are quite tight.
“It’s good fun and that’s the main thing. At the end of the day, we are flying the flag, certainly for me, a club I’ve represented for a long time.
“You are representing everyone who is a member of that club so you try to do your best. But, at the same time, no one is going to really give you stick if you don’t make it past the first round.”
The British Rugby Club of Paris was formed after the First World War by British rugby lovers resident in the French capital, where one of its early captains was J B Langlands, a Watsonian.
Other current Scottish Section members include Ken Scotland, Andy Nicol, Andy Irvine, Roger Baird and Scott Hastings, Gavin’s younger brother.
“Chris Paterson-Brown, my partner on this occasion, is playing in the Dispatch Trophy for the first time,” added Hastings, who plays off four at Gullane. “He’s a young lad who I am sure will relish the opportunity of representing the club.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about old guys like me and that’s why it’s great that there’s a fresh impetus this year (11 new teams have entered on the back of the rules being relaxed) as that can only be good because the Dispatch Trophy has great history and tradition.
“It is a sociable event. Okay, the golf is taken seriously, but what I have always enjoyed is the fact that you will sit down afterwards and have a beer with your opponents. You have a bit of craic and that’s one of the things I’ve always liked about the Dispatch Trophy.”
Hastings’ passion for the event is shared by Clark Munro, who will be in the opposing Munro Bathrooms team on Saturday, when a second side entered by him, Munro Heating, take on newcomers Dunbar.
“Munro Heating first entered nine years ago and have reached the last eight on a couple of occasions,” said Munro. “With the demise of clubs within Liberton like Kingston and Binivell who previously entered teams, it was a case of me trying to allow players to remain involved with the Dispatch as every golfer loves to participate in the event.”
Former Lothians champion Mark Timmins is in the Munro Heating team this time around, as is Dave Ewen, a winner in the past with Carrickvale.