Hawick prop to earn landmark 200th cap
After 12 years of donning the iconic green shirt of Hawick, Shawn Muir is set to earn his 200th cap for the Borders club this weekend in their Tennent’s Premiership clash against Musselburgh.
A club steeped in history, the loose-head now joins a group of 43 local legends, including former Scotland internationals Tony Stanger, Jim Renwick and Colin Deans, who have all earned more than 200 caps for the 1XV team.
Muir’s rugby days started as most young Borders lads do, at school.
“I’ve been in Hawick my whole life, so I first picked up a ball at Primary School and kept playing through to High School where I joined the Hawick PSA U18 team, and I moved straight onto Hawick Rugby Club from there.
“School rugby was a fun time, getting to run about with your best mates and have a laugh. We didn’t ever win anything, but I’ve got a lot of fond memories.”
Muir got his first call up to the Hawick senior squad in 2010 for a Borders League match against Langholm. Selected as the starting loose-head, the step into the adult game was something of an eye-opener, aged 17 at the time.
“I remember my first cap well. It was a Borders derby against Langholm on a Wednesday night. It was an eye-opener if I’m honest. I played for 60 minutes, and it was really tough. There were some old heads in the Langholm team, so coming up against their experience was a bit of a shock to the system, although we did win pretty convincingly.”
Since debuting for his hometown club, the 29-year-old has gone on to earn 198 more caps, creating many special memories along the way.
“My most enjoyable memory so far was in 2013 when we played against Dundee at Meggetland. It was a one-off game where the winner would be promoted into the Premiership. I think everyone had written us off for it, but we did it, we beat them 39-38 and got back into the Premiership. That game will always stand out to me, it was really special.”
Since then, there have been a number of highs and lows for the club. For father-of-one Muir, the highs include the aforementioned fixture against Dundee, two Borders League title wins in 2014/15 and 2021/22 and three seasons as team Captain. Muir was also selected in the 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 Scotland Club XV squad.
Pictured: Hawick celebrate their Borders League win in 2021/22 at Mansfield Park (Hawick 18 Kelso 14)
Fortunately for Hawick, they are riding a new high, as they currently sit at the top of the Premiership league table with nine wins and a draw.
“There’s a good buzz about the club”, said Muir.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been at the top of the Premiership, so there’s a good feeling between committee, coaches and players, but we know there is still a long way to go. There are some good teams breathing down our neck so we have to keep working hard, and we can’t take any opposition lightly.
“As a squad we’re taking things week by week, but we are determined to maintain our undefeated position. We want to improve our performances; we still don’t feel that we have played our best rugby yet.”
Hawick will vie to extend their lead in the league rankings on Saturday as they host Musselburgh at Mansfield Park.
Whilst Muir is proud of his milestone achievement, the soon to be double centurion has got his eyes firmly on the prize this weekend, saying: “Earning my 200th cap this weekend will be a proud moment. I’ve grown up here, I’ve followed the club all my life, watching them win leagues, and I’ve played all my rugby here. I didn’t ever think I’d be in this position so it’s going to be special. But the most important thing to me is that we get the result on Saturday.
“I know my family will be along too – my parents, my partner and my son – I think my Dad has been to just about every home game I’ve played in, which means a lot.”
Amongst those who are proud of Muir’s achievement is Hawick President, Ian Landles.
“We’re all obviously really proud of Shawn joining the ranks of those who have earned more than 200 caps for the club. I’m not sure there will be many other clubs in the country with a list like this, there are a number of household names of yesteryear included in it”, said Landles
“Shawn has been a great stalwart of the club. He’s been extremely loyal to us, and I know the club means a lot to him. I think he’s probably been unlucky to not have made it further up the ladder because I believe he is one of the best props in the Premiership.
“He’s also the kind of guy whose love for the club goes beyond rugby. Last weekend he joined our Captain Matt Carryer to lay a wreath at the War Memorial to recognise the 40 Hawick players who died during the World Wars.
“Here’s to Shawn’s next 200 caps!”
Hawick v Musselburgh – Mansfield Park, KO 1.15pm
Photo credit: Malcolm Grant