All eyes will be on Heriot’s ground at Goldenacre this Saturday if Melrose are again allowed by SRU paymasters to field Hugh Blake.
The 22-year-old former New Zealand Under-20 cap has just been named in Scotland’s squad for the RBS Six Nations Championship without having played for the full Edinburgh team.
The fact Blake isn’t registered for Europe means he cannot turn out against Bordeaux-Begles in the Challenge Cup on Friday night.
And Scotland team bosses will be keen to see a player – described by national coach Vern Cotter as having a “skill set” other candidates don’t currently have – get much-needed match practice.
Cotter watched Blake playing flanker for Melrose in a win over Hawick last weekend when another keen observer was John Thorburn.
Vice president of the Hawick club and a former full-time official at the now-defunct Border Reivers pro side, Thorburn is one of the most respected figures in the Scottish game.
He says: “Hugh Blake showed flashes last weekend but I wouldn’t have said he stood out more than anybody else.
“He struck me as a linking type of player, an old-fashioned openside flanker and not a particularly big guy.”
Cotter noted that Blake “put in 19 tackles and gained three turnovers” and remarked: “He is a very fast, skilful player, capable of changing the course of a match.”