GAVIN EMERSON is hopeful that his Dunfermline Rugby Club players can seize a “once in a lifetime” chance to reach a Murrayfield final.

The Tennent’s Men’s Caledonia Region League, Division One, title winners travel to Castle Douglas this afternoon to play Stewartry in the last four of the National Shield, which the McKane Park club won in 2012.

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The chance to walk out at the national stadium in early May, and compete for silverware, is the prize on offer for the winners and Emerson said: “It is once in a lifetime.

“I know there are loads of teams that have been there several times, but I’ve never coached there. I’ve never played there so, just for me personally, to get there is a massive tick in the box to play at the national stadium, in front of all the Dunfermline fans. That’s what we want.

“Going away, if we beat Stewartry, it puts that bit more confidence behind the guys when we do go to Murrayfield. I think it’ll be quite a nice thing, and it might knock a bit of nerves out. Although, saying that, I think I’d be nervous, even though I won’t be taking to the field, if we went to Murrayfield, just because of the nature of the venue.”

He continued: “The benefit of getting in the latter stages of a national competition is being able to take more people in the squad; we can take 22 as opposed to 19. That’s given three more guys that opportunity to wear that first XV jersey, as they all deserve to wear them, and get on the field with their fellow team-mates.

“Everyone always gets on when they play for me. No matter the score, everyone deserves to get on the pitch. If you’ve got that jersey on on the touchline, you’re going to get on that pitch sooner or later.

“I was chatting to one of the guys who said, the last time he went to Murrayfield with Dunfermline, he sat on the bench for the whole game. I said that won’t happen with us. Everyone gets on the pitch.”