Former Edinburgh Rugby and Boroughmuir prop Robin Hislop is gearing up for one of the biggest games of his career with current club Rotherham this weekend.
The South Yorkshire outfit have reached the end-of-season play-offs for the second year running in the Greene King IPA English Championship.
And like last year, when they lost out on aggregate 39-25, they will take on Andy Robinson’s Bristol in a two-legged last-four tie. The winners will then line up against either Worcester Warriors or London Scottish in a two-legged final.
Hislop, 22, has been at Rotherham since November 2013 and knows they will head into their semi-final as underdogs having finished fourth in the regular season with Bristol finishing first.
However, he believes they can cause a shock and, ahead of the first leg at Ashton Gate on Saturday, said: “We have one of the smaller budgets in the division, we cannot bring in international players like Bristol and Worcester do, but we have punched above our weight for the last couple of seasons and put ourselves in with a chance of promotion.
“We know that Bristol will be expected to beat us, but we have a lot of belief in the squad and if we can come away from the first match still in the tie then who knows.”
The son of former Langholm prop Brian ‘Bomber’ Hislop, when Hislop was a teenager he made quite an impression playing for Scotland Under-17 and 18. He then became involved as an apprentice at Edinburgh and became a key man for Scotland Under-20s, earning 18 caps in 2011 and 2012. He also managed to get some time in the PRO12 and Europe with the Capital club as well as being used in the professional draft by Boroughmuir.
By 2013 he was really going places with Edinburgh before a broken leg in pre-season before season 2013/14 stunted his progress just as things were changing at Edinburgh.
“It was frustrating that my injury came around at the time that Alan Solomons became the head coach at Edinburgh because it meant it was hard for me to show him what I was capable of,” Hislop confessed.
“The opportunity came to head down to Rotherham and I had heard that the English Championship was a tough league for forwards so I thought ‘why not give it a go?’.
“I have never regretted the decision and will be here next season too.”
On Saturday, Hislop will come up against another former Edinburgh prop forward in Kyle Traynor who starts for Bristol.