Scottish Rugby is set to add some extra spice to the top level of the domestic season by introducing a new piece of competition silverware.
The Bill McLaren Shield, in honour of the great rugby commentator, will be presented to Hawick RFC by Bette McLaren
Scottish Rugby’s chief executive, Jock Millican, said: “Scottish Rugby is delighted to introduce this Shield in memory of Bill McLaren; it’s a very fitting tribute to one of the most recognisable names in the history of Scottish rugby.
“I know that it will be an honour for every team who has the opportunity to compete for this trophy and even more so if they are able to win and retain it.
“This shield will certainly take the fixtures between the sides that are competing for it to another level and will heighten the entertainment for supporters throughout the season.
“I would like to wish Hawick and Borougmuir all the best as they compete for the Bill McLaren Shield for the first time.”
The first challenge will take place this weekend (Saturday 3 September) with Boroughmuir taking on Hawick at Mansfield Park for the silverware.
If Hawick win and retain the Shield, it stays at Mansfield Park. However if Boroughmuir emerge the victors, they will take it back to Meggetland and it will be challenged for at Boroughmuir’s next home game.
Hawick secretary, John Thorburn, said: “It’s a privilege and an honour to play the first game for the Bill McLaren Shield.
“We look forward to the match on Saturday against Boroughmuir and to see how the Shield competition develops throughout the season.
“It will mean a great deal for our players to compete for this Shield on Saturday. They are all aware of what Bill did for the rugby club in Hawick and the history he created within Scottish rugby.
“With Bill coming from Hawick and his name being on this Shield we have an extremely important duty to perform this weekend.”
Boroughmuir President, George Clark, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the first contest for the Shield which will keep alive Bill’s memory and promote the Bill McLaren Foundation throughout the season.
“Every RBS Premier 1 club will want to win the Shield and it will certainly add an edge to every game in which it is challenged for.
“Bill was a great friend of Boroughmuir and regularly came down to Meggetland when club rugby was televised. Boroughmuir also played in the final match he commentated on in 2002 so it is a great honour for us to play this game.”
Competition for the Shield will be open to all RBS Premier 1, 2 and 3 clubs and as such it has the potential to make its way around the top three divisions through the RBS Cup.
Format and rules of the Bill McLaren Shield 2011/12: