Both have played senior international rugby recently but Mark Lee, who captained Scotland in the Commonwealth Games sevens, and Opeta Palepoi, who has won 30 caps for Samoa, have been rewarded for their efforts in Scottish club rugby with chances to stake claims for full- time contracts at Netherdale today.

Opportunities for the aspiring have always promised to be among the side-benefits of the Bank of Scotland Inter-Pro Cup, and their involvement in today's meeting of the Borders and Glasgow is extremely welcome, even if the competition itself has made a stuttering start both on and off the pitch.

It should, however, only get better and to that end Kiwi Searancke, Glasgow's coach, believes the Netherdale surface, which he rates the best he has seen in Scotland since arriving in the summer, will help that.

He has introduced Palepoi, who has been playing for Currie for the past two months, among six fresh faces as he seeks to ensure that his side play with the necessary energy to cope with what should be a pacy game.

''I got a call a couple of weeks ago telling me he would be worth looking at, since we have a second-row problem,'' explained Searancke, who said checks with southern hemisphere contacts confirmed that the lock boasts the athleticism to be expected of Polynesian players, but also relishes the donkey work required of front- five forwards.

The evidence of his own eyes in two impressive training sessions since the 26-year-old joined the squad on Sunday has backed that up. ''It is a gamble but a calculated one,'' said the coach, who admitted that Nathan Ross may be rather peeved at his omission but is on hand if required.

Of those left out, only Lee Harrison is carrying an injury and, while naming the prop among the replacements, Searancke has gone to the extraordinary length of asking Tony Gilbert, his opposite number, to try to find a local club player to offer cover in case the back spasms Harrison is suffering mean that he cannot even sit on the bench. ''Obviously the last thing we want is a situation where we have uncontested scrums in a match of this importance,'' said Searancke, who has already included Scott Lawson, the Melrose hooker, among his replacements.

Borders coach Gilbert has, meanwhile, also raided the club scene to give Lee a chance that is deserved for attitude alone, as he has reinvented himself by switching from scrum half to flanker since losing his contract with Edinburgh 18 months ago.

Now 24, Lee felt he got less than a fair crack at Edinburgh in his final year, but has so readily adapted to his new position that he was given the captaincy of Jed-Forest this season after leading the Scotland seven impressively.

He gets in following Andrew Mower's recall to struggling Newcastle after his loan spell, while Matt Taylor and Campbell Feather remain injured.

However, Lee believes he is coming into a side much further advanced than the Edinburgh Reivers set-up he was part of in their early days.

''It's miles ahead but then all the teams have moved on. I couldn't really compare it to the other sides now, but from the experiences I had before it's been a massive step-up,'' he said, admitting he would probably have left the Scottish game had he not been invited to join the Borders back-up squad this season.

Now, with a season-and-a- half in his new position and having completed his law degree at Newcastle University, Lee believes the way he has honed his skills with his sevens involvement has helped prepare him to make his mark in professional rugby.

''There is more opportunity than pressure I think,'' he said of today's match. ''I don't want to let anybody down, but I don't think I will.''

While the Borders start as favourites, because of their 33-12 Celtic League win over Glasgow at Netherdale in October combined with the more settled look to their side, Gilbert voiced some concern about his side's lack of action over the past couple of weeks.

He believes continuity is the key to developing his new side, which is also why a friendly meeting with strong-running English Premiership side Leeds has been arranged for January 17 to keep things ticking over.

bank of scotland inter-pro championship

Borders v Glasgow

Netherdale, 2.30pm

Glasgow's team selection carries a surprisingly experimental look with full-timer Nathan Ross among six players dropping out of the side who drew with Edinburgh last week, his place going to Currie's Opeta Palepoi. Other regulars losing out as the side is freshened up are Gordon Simpson, Tommy Hayes, Andy Henderson and Jonny Steel, who are replaced by Donny Macfadyen, Calvin Howarth, Alan Bulloch and Stuart Moffat respectively.

Lee Harrison is also listed on the bench but may not be fit to take any part due to back spasms he has suffered which is why 21-year-old Andrew Kelly is in the starting

line-up for the first time and Scott Lawson of Melrose comes in on the bench for Ben Daly (damaged knee ligaments). By contrast,

the Borders line-up is much more settled, though former Edinburgh Reiver Mark Lee (pictured) gets his chance and former Glasgow lock Colin Stewart is another who starts for the first time.

Borders T Vili; N Walker, J Stuart,

K Utterson, S Cranston; G Townsend,

G Armstrong; P Thomson, S Scott,

B Douglas, D Weir, C Stewart, A Rennick, M Lee, S Sititi. Replacements: S Gunn,

G Graham, S MacLeod, T Walker,

I Fairley, C Moir, G Morton

Glasgow G Metcalfe; S Moffat,

J Naufahu, A Bulloch, R Reid; C Howarth,

G Beveridge; D Hilton, G Bulloch, A Kelly, O Palepoi, A Hall, A Wilson,

D Macfadyen, J Petrie. Replacements:

S Lawson, L Harrison, N Ross,

G Simpson, A Nicol, T Hayes, A Henderson