In the amateur era players used the Scottish rugby premiership as a springboard to full caps for the Southern Hemisphere’s superpowers.
Mark Cooksley and Chris Tregaskis (Boroughmuir and New Zealand) are examples along with Jeremy Thompson (Edinburgh Accies and South Africa).
Now, another young Kiwi has arrived in the Capital with a glowing CV and ambitions to match.
Jack Turley lines up for Heriot’s against Edinburgh Accies at Goldenacre tomorrow determined to continue fulfulling promise that saw him win an All Blacks schools cap and, equally, to maintain a 100 per cent record in outings for his adopted club.
Says Turley, a back five forward who also played on the wing during schoolboy days: “I have a British grandparent which means my visa allows me to stay up to five years so I would like to stick around.
“But I’d also love to stake a claim for a professional contract at some stage.
“I’m really proud of representing New Zealand Schools against Australia in Auckland but my dream is to upgrade to a proper jersey with a silver fern.”
Turley’s pedigree also includes outings for Canterbury at Under-19 and Under-21 level while he has been coached at Christchurch High Old Boys’ by former All Blacks captain Reuben Thorne and ex-Test centre, Aaron Mauger.
“When I finished my B Com degree I decided if I was going to travelling this would be the time,” said Turley, adding: “My cousin, Will Rowley, had played for Watsonians and recommended I head for Edinburgh.
“When Will heard I had joined Watsonians’ big rivals his e-mail said that when next meet up over here it’ll have to be well away from Myreside!
“Seriously, the standard of play in my two games has been better than I expected if a little less intense in tempo than New Zealand and I look forward to a match against Accies which I’ve learned usually has a bit of an edge!”
Turley’s arrival has coincided with a transformation in the fortunes of Heriot’s with wins over Melrose and Dundee.
“The boys have called me a lucky mascot but I don’t know about that. I just want to keep things going while soaking up the local history.
“The first flat I stayed in on arriving was built 250 years ago and that’s older than New Zealand!”
For Saturday’s clash Heriot’s coach Phil Smith is not afraid to shake up his side despite the back-to-back wins.
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, normally a stand off, comes in at scrum half with Graham Wilson wearing the No. 10 shirt in a rare shift of position.
Also, Chris Mulligan gets a first start at open side flanker allowing Turley, who is 6ft 6in and 15st 10lb, to move up into the second row where he won his schools cap with Fraser Brown reverting to blind side flanker.
Accies are still seeking their opening win and would dearly love to repeat last year’s success in the corresponding fixture.
Coach Simon Cross pulls no punches when he says: “Tactical naivety and a lack of leadership in the second half cost us last week. Credit to Melrose for winning the game though – they forced us into mistakes. I’m hoping that the return of some senior players will improve our game management.”
Returning for Accies are centre Iain Berthinussen while rugby league internationalist Matt Coupar starts on the wing with Lewis Niven and Alex Black released by Edinburgh Rugby to play prop and scrum half.
Currie bid to make it three wins in a row when they travel to a Dundee High side still reeling from defeat at Heriot’s.
With Dougie Fife and Gregor Hunter recalled by Edinburgh this is offset by the return of Andrew Binikos, Liam Draycott and Malcom Peacock who missed the 37-32 win over a Boroughmuir side who head for Gala.
Dundee give debuts to Brandyn Laursen, from Wellington, who starts at stand off while pro wing Taylor Paris is released by Glasgow.
Included on the Boroughmuir bench is Edinburgh development signing George Turner who is expected to make a debut at some stage.
Giving encouragement to ‘Muir will be the fact they won a pre-season friendly at Gala in August.
In the National League Watsonians head for Hillhead/Jordanhill with Callum Harvey at second row after a lengthy injury break while Stewart’s Melville entertain Kelso.