Bates Hands Townsend Birthday Boost

Border Reivers head coach Steve Bates handed Gregor Townsend a special birthday present today as he named the British Lions stand-off in his starting line-up for tomorrow night’s Magners League clash against Cardiff Blues. Three other new faces join Townsend, who turned 34 today, in tomorrow’s side – lock Stuart Grimes, prop Ed Kalman and fellow back, Bryan Rennie.Border Reivers head coach Steve Bates handed Gregor Townsend a special birthday present today as he named the British Lions stand-off in his starting line-up for tomorrow night’s Magners League clash against Cardiff Blues.

Three other new faces join Townsend, who turned 34 today, in tomorrow’s side – lock Stuart Grimes, prop Ed Kalman and fellow back, Bryan Rennie.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game, Bates said: “Things are hotting-up at the top of the table and Cardiff are in the thick of it and are nipping at the heels of The Ospreys, who we’ve got in the last game of the season.

“We competed well for much of the game against Ulster, despite the final score-line, which shows that we are determined to keep challenging those at the top of the table.”

With four additions to the line-up, the six positional changes in the pack see Opeta Palepoi move from lock to flanker and line up beside Kelly Brown who starts the game at openside. John Dalziel makes his first start at no. 8 since February 2006.

In the back division, Garry Law moves in from the wing to fill the outside centre berth with Nick De Luca pulling on the number 11 shirt.

Border Reivers team to play Cardiff Blues in the Magners League at Netherdale on Friday 27 April (kick-off 7:30pm)

15 Stuart Moffat

14 Dougie Flockhart
13 Garry Law
12 Bryan Rennie
11 Nick De Luca

10 Gregor Townsend
9 Chris Cusiter CAPTAIN *

1 Gavin Kerr
2 Ross Ford *
3 Ed Kalman
4 Stuart Grimes
5 Craig Hamilton
6 Opeta Palepoi
7 Kelly Brown *
8 John Dalziel

Substitutes
16 Steve Scott/Sean Crombie
17 Bruce Douglas
18 Richie Vernon
19 Andy Miller
20 Rob Chrystie
21 Scott Gray
22 Steve Jones

* = Member of Scottish Institute of Sport

NATIONAL ACADEMY (BORDERS)
Two National Academy (Borders) players are included in Steve Bates’ plans for the visit of Cardiff Blues to Netherdale on Friday night (kick-off 7:30pm).

Back-rower Richard Vernon starts on the bench in the penultimate home match for the Borders professional team whilst hooker Sean Crombie awaits the call depending on Steve Scott, who will have a fitness test later today.

In Border League action tonight (Thursday), Hawick include Scott Forrest, Graham Hogg, Bruce McNeil and Rory Hutton as they welcome Berwick to Mansfield Park. The Greens have to secure a 53-point victory to secure a Border League cup final place at the expense of Jed-Forest.

The annual Langholm Sevens takes place at Milntown on Saturday and included in the Gala line-up are Fraser Thomson and sevens internationalist Roddy Grant, his Scotland 7s colleague Callum Anderson is part of the Melrose squad, while Scott Forrest, Graham Hogg and Rory Hutton are in the frame for the Hawick squad.

Ross Gibson is included in Hawick 2nds string for the South District Union 7s at Poynder Park, Kelso. As the Pfizer Animal Health Semi-Junior sevens series moves to Selkirk Youth Club’s event at Philiphaugh, Nicky Little is in the Hawick PSA and Scotland U18 player Gavin Cameron is in the Hawick Wanderers squad

SENIOR ACADEMY PLAYERS
Apprentice Match
*Sean Crombie Border Reivers v Cardiff Blues
Scott Forrest Hawick v Berwick or Langholm 7s
*Roddy Grant Langholm 7s
*Ryan Grant No game
*Graham Hogg Hawick v Berwick
*Lee Kibble Injured
James King No game
*Bruce McNeil Hawick v Berwick or Langholm 7s
Scott Newlands No Game
*Mark Robertson Injured
*Richard Vernon Border Reivers v Cardiff Blues

JUNIOR ACADEMY PLAYERS
Academy player Match
*Callum Anderson Langholm 7s
*Ciaran Beattie Injured
*Gavin Cameron Selkirk Youth Club 7s
*Ross Gibson Scottish District Union 7s
*Rory Hutton Hawick v Berwick/Langholm 7s
*Nicky Little Selkirk Youth Club 7s
*Michael Tait Injured
*Fraser Thomson Langholm 7s

* Member of Area Institute