John Hardie: Edinburgh & Scotland flanker starts for Hawick as ban ends

By Jamie LyallBBC Scotland
John Hardie
John Hardie, centre, returned to Edinburgh training earlier this month

Scotland flanker John Hardie will make his first appearance since October on Saturday, as his ban for alleged cocaine use comes to an end.

The 29-year-old will start for Hawick, who travel to Watsonians in the BT Premiership - the top tier of the domestic Scottish game.

Hardie was suspended for three months by Scottish Rugby for "gross misconduct".

The 16-cap flanker has not been named in Gregor Townsend's Six Nations squad.

He could force his way into the reckoning as the tournament progresses.

The open-side made his most recent Test appearance in the June defeat by Fiji, and last played for Edinburgh in their European Challenge Cup win over London Irish on 14 October.

John Hardie Tweet
John Hardie posted a message on social media "thanking everyone for the support"

Hardie's next opportunity to represent the club will come on 9 February, when Richard Cockerill's side host Leinster in the Pro14.

Scotland begin their Six Nations campaign six days earlier, when they face Wales in Cardiff.

Townsend handed New Zealand-born Hardie's Edinburgh team-mate, Hamish Watson, the number seven jersey for each of the three autumn internationals during November.

National captain John Barclay, who will join Edinburgh next season, and Glasgow's Ryan Wilson and Rob Harley can also play on the open-side flank.

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