New Zealand rugby star gets a pizza the action in the Borders

Published: 8 Nov 2012 08:300 comments

PEEBLES Fish Bar have immortalized the town's star rugby player - in the form of a pizza.

James Hemara with his pizza.

The 'Hemara Hottie' was named after James due to his upper crust performance for the Peebles side.

The pizza parlour - on Peebles High Street - spiced up their menu with the dish, which features pepperoni, beef, onion and red chillies.

Twenty-five-year-old James was shocked after no one from the chippy had mentioned it to him, and he believed it a half-baked trick by pals. He said: "It's really surprising - I thought it was a prank at first.

"One of my team mates put it on Facebook, so I called in and had a look and I couldn't believe it." He added: "It's honourable of them - I feel so proud, and I can't wait to tell the guys back home."

James, from Otorohanga in New Zealand, arrived in Peebles with wife Trudie in August for the rugby season after being encouraged by a friend who had visited the town 14 years ago.

And so far James has peppered himself as the top try scorer for this season.

He told the Peeblesshire News that he loves life in the area. The outside centre said: "The people are real lovely over here - the town is pretty similar to my own back home."

After trying the pizza on Wednesday night with the Peeblesshire News team, James gave it his seal of approval. He told us: "It's great - really good, I like it!"

Chippy owner Mario Ventre, who came up with the idea, is currently on holiday but his son Giussepe spoke to us. The pizza chef said: "My dad came up with the idea while making an advert for Borders Rugby TV.

"He thought we'd promote the rugby team by making a pizza for our star player."

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