He said: “The opportunity for the gifted club player to represent his country is one to be nurtured and the fact that a second club international has been added this season gives extra incentive to those involved in our competitive and exciting club rugby programme.
“I know that when our first club international against the Irish was played in 2006 there was immediate interest from Wales about becoming involved and it’s great this has now come to fruition.”
The Scots will face the Welsh at Caerphilly RFC on Friday 8 February with a 2.30pm kick-off. A fortnight later (Friday 22 February), they will take on Ireland at Donnybrook, Dublin with a 7.30pm kick-off.
Rankin, the former Kirkcaldy, North and Midlands, Caledonia Reds, Edinburgh Reivers and Scotland A coach and Edinburgh pro-team manager, stressed that contenders would be considered from throughout the club game and that, as in previous years, trial matches would be likely.
One option that the club international management is considering is working closely with the Co-optimists invitation club. The Co-ops play Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, on Saturday 29 December, and that fixture could see a number of potential club international contenders in Co-ops colours.
Rankin is joined once again by two others as heavily involved in the club game, in completing the senior management trio, as George Breckenridge (assistant coach) and Grant Wilson (manager) have been reappointed.
Breckenridge (Heriot’s), the former Scotland B stand-off and Scotland under-18 assistant coach, also coached at Ayr and Murrayfield Wanderers, before taking on the mantle of Heriot’s backs coach last season.
He said: “I’m delighted to be involved with the club international team and to be working alongside Ian and Grant again. Having seen the players’ reaction last year in beating Ireland I know how much representing their country and clubs at international level means to them.”