THE BORDERS has produced many rugby internationals over the years.

But, remarkably, the latest is an All Black.

On Saturday, Finlay Christie who was born in the Borders General Hospital and raised in Peebles made his debut from the bench as New Zealand trounced Tonga 102-0 in their first Test of the year in Auckland.

The Christie family emigrated to Pukekohe in South Auckland when Finlay was seven.
And the athletic youngster represented New Zealand at gymnastics before focusing on rugby. 

Nicknamed ‘Red’ due to his hair colour, inherited from his mother’s line, Finlay had been on the verge of taking a diesel mechanic’s apprenticeship.

But then he decided to head to Christchurch to attend university.

He started in engineering and switched to commerce, before rugby took over after his first year. 
He was picked up by Tasman in 2016, and has played Super Rugby for the Chiefs, Hurricanes and now Blues.

Last month he was part of the Blues side which won their first Super Rugby title in 18 years, beating the Highlanders 23-15 in the final of the trans-Tasman tournament and was voted the ‘Back of the Year’.

The moment Christie and fellow debutant Quinn Tupaea, from Waikato, discovered that they had been selected for All Blacks for the first time was captured on CCTV and has been viewed thousands of times.

“A few of us went to a pub in Ellerslie, had dinner, a couple of beers, and thought we’ll just hang round here till the announcement,” he told ‘Stuff at Blues HQ’. 

“Then it all happened. It took about a minute for the phone to start blowing up. I was pretty nervous, but at the same time excited after I came to terms with it. I’m pretty stoked now.”

His first call after hearing the news of his selection was to dad Chris and mum Liz who still live in Pukekohe. 

The Kiwis’ head coach Ian Foster told the team website: “Firstly, on behalf of the selectors, I want to congratulate all players selected for this Steinlager Series squad, especially, the new All Blacks, including Finlay and Quinn. It’s an incredibly special day for them and their families and we look forward to catching up with them when we get into camp this week.”

Older brother Gregor, also a scrum-half, later returned to Scotland to play for Currie Chieftains where he earned Scotland Club XV honours in Ireland last year before joining Watsonians. His uncle Sandy still has a farm at Teviothead.