Newcastle Falcons will play next month’s pre-season friendly against Edinburgh Rugby at Mansfield Park, the home of Hawick RFC.
The match which will take place on Friday 30 August (kick-off 7.45pm), will be the Falcons’ final warm-up game before their Aviva Premiership opener with Bath Rugby at Kingston Park the following week.
And the clash sees long-standing friends Nikki Walker, 31, of Edinburgh and Newcastle’s Scott MacLeod, 34, going head to head with MacLeod due to be best man at Walker’s wedding this Saturday.
“Me and Nikki [Walker] go back a long way having progressed through the ranks at Hawick RFC,” said MacLeod.
He added: “He’s a cracking lad and it will be interesting to see how we go against each other when we meet in August.
“We’ve gone head to head before when I played for the Scarlets and he played for the Ospreys, but because of our very different positions on the field we haven’t really clashed!”
Capped 24 times by Scotland, MacLeod, who scooped the Player of the Season and Player’s Player of the Season for the Falcons last term, is licking his lips at the prospect of gracing Mansfield Park in front of his family and friends.
“It will be a proud moment for me to be playing in front of my loved ones in what will be a terrific occasion for the Borders public,” said the towering lock, who currently resides in Hawick and makes the one-and-a-half hour car journey to Kingston Park each day.
The dedicated professional added: “The Borders has a strong connection with Newcastle Falcons with a number of players from the region going on to represent the club.
“It’s an absolute honour for the Borders to be hosting the game, and I know they can’t wait to welcome both sides to Mansfield Park.”
In similar fashion MacLeod’s pal Walker is relishing the contest as he takes to the field where it all began as a youngster.
“It’s great news that the game is heading for Hawick,” said Walker who is a summer signing from Worcester Warriors.
“I’ve got so many great memories from playing there before I turned professional so to go back and play against Scott [MacLeod] and all the other Scottish boys will make a cracking match.
“Newcastle are an ambitious club. They were the strongest Championship team over the course of last season and totally deserved their promotion to the Premiership, so it will be a good test for us,” added Walker.
Adding further spice to the fixture will be the wealth of Scotland internationals on show for both sides, with MacLeod, Mike Blair, Phil Godman, Ally Hogg and Rory Lawson all facing their former club.
The Newcastle Falcons Supporters Club will be running coaches to the game with cost and departure times to be announced shortly.