John Dalziel started playing rugby at Gala nearly three decades ago when he joined the mini section at the Netherdale club.

Fast forward to 2012 and he is a player/coach with Borders rivals Melrose, so the RBS Premiership game between the two famous clubs this weekend has extra special meaning for the 35-year-old.

Recognised as one of the best club players in Scotland over a number of years, whether in the maroon of Gala or the yellow and black of Melrose, many thought Dalziel might retire during the summer after a bad collarbone injury. As those who have seen him play will testify, though, Dalziel is made of stern stuff and he has continued to turn out for the champions while helping their young forwards flourish in his coaching role.

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The men from the Greenyards are struggling this season, though, some 16 points behind second-placed Gala who have really kicked on following their British & Irish Cup win over London Scottish a few weeks ago.

As such they go into the game as favourites and Dalziel said: "We have had a tough few weeks with injuries and the like but the guys are working really hard in training and I know we will come good again soon. All the focus has been on the Gala match, because the towns are so close together, there is so much history between the clubs and, in recent years, a number of players have turned out for both."

"I really enjoyed my rugby at Gala and have many friends from the club, but my focus now is solely on Melrose."

Melrose have suffered because of the absence of key men like the captain Graeme Dodds and his brother Allan, while they have also lost the Tongan winger Usaia Kalamafoni who has returned home because his father is ill.