DAVID Lemi may soon swap the delights of summer in Samoa for Millbrae in winter after the new Glasgow signing was snapped up by Ayr in the latest club draft of professional players.
Players from Edinburgh and Glasgow have been re-drafted to clubs who qualified for the Premier A finale to the club season, ensuring they all have a fair chance of having one or two pros available when the competition resumes on 14 January.
The league has split into RBS Premier A, B and C and the new draft covers all 23 professional players who were originally drafted to Glasgow Hawks, Heriot’s, Edinburgh Accies and Hawick – the clubs who missed out on the top eight – and new signings.
Peter Wright, RBS Premier One representative on the Scottish Rugby Council, said: “With the structural changes to the league now in place, the draft gives those sides at the top of club rugby an opportunity to drive up standards even further.
“We have a situation now where David Lemi, for example – a World Cup winger – will be able to give guidance and support to Ayr and play for them should that scenario arise. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn from him and for him to learn about Scottish rugby.
“The clubs do acknowledge not all the professionals in the draft will turn out for the RBS Premier A sides, but we want to get the clubs and the pro players working together. It’s important the players have that connection to the clubs and at the same time the clubs embrace the professional game.”
Lemi is joined by Colin Shaw and John Barclay in the latest draft, which adds to the original five pros drafted by each of those clubs, while Richie Gray joins Dundee HSFP, Greig Laidlaw and ex-Watsonians Stuart McInally become Currie recruits, Mike Blair, Andrew Turnbull and Jim Thompson join Gala and ex-Selkirk winger Lee Jones could find himself back in Melrose colours.