MORE than 20 years after he first graced the pitch there as an enthusiastic youngster, former Scotland prop Allan Jacobsen cannot wait to run out at the Pennypit once more in the colours of hometown club Preston Lodge this afternoon.
A big crowd is expected to gather at the ground in Prestonpans to celebrate the professional rugby career of one of the town’s most famous sons, who won 65 caps for his country and played nearly 300 matches for Edinburgh.
A Preston Lodge XV, including the man known throughout Scottish Rugby as “Chunk”, will take on charity side The Pigbarians on a day that will also mark the official opening of the new Preston Lodge clubhouse at Prestongrange with a lunch.
From the moment he went down to Preston Lodge to watch his brothers taking part in mini rugby training in the 1980s, Jacobsen was hooked on the sport.
As soon as he was old enough himself he began playing mini rugby too and he said: “It was so much fun just heading down to the club every Sunday and playing with your friends.
“We soon began playing in tournaments and it was fun heading to other places and representing the club. Indeed I remember in the early days we went to a couple of the events in the Borders and came back up the road with medals and that made us feel very proud.”
After playing there and at school, Edinburgh age-grade honours and matches in the senior teams at Preston Lodge soon came along and the rest, as they say, is history.
Jacobsen ended a 16-year association with Edinburgh at the end of last season and ahead of today’s match said: “I am looking forward to pulling on the PL jersey again and playing alongside some guys I know from the past. There is also likely to be a number of club folk on the sidelines who I haven’t seen in a while to catch up with, so it should be a great day.
“The Pigs also do a lot of good work for charity and have put together a good squad which will test my fitness as training has taken a back seat to plumbing of late.”
The home squad is made up of mainly current players, while the Pigbarians are due to feature ex-Scotland caps Stuart Moffat, Craig Joiner, Sean Lineen, Tom Philip, Derrick Lee, Graeme Burns, Jon Petrie and Barry Stewart. Other interesting inclusions are Mark Cairns (Currie), David Blair (ex-Edinburgh) and Cameron Leigh and Joshua Christie from the London Scottish Academy.
The Pigbarians connection with Preston Lodge and Jacobsen, who is set to play for Watsonians in 2013/14 in the RBS National League, goes back a long way.
Pigbarians founder and honorary chairman Jimmy ‘The Pig’ Michie is a former player of the East Lothian outfit, while Jacobsen is an honorary president of the club which raises money for children’s charity Dreamz4U.
The lunch in the clubhouse is sold out and the match kicks off at 3pm.