Each RBS Premier 1 team will be firmly focused on their own matches this weekend, but it’s likely that they will all have one eye on Mansfield Park where the inaugural challenge for the Bill McLaren Shield is taking place.
The Bill McLaren Shield begins its journey into Premier 1 with Hawick taking on Boroughmuir at home.
Moreover Dundee HSFP take on Aberdeen Grammar at Mayfield, which sees the first North East derby of the season and in the top division for many years.
Elsewhere Melrose take on Currie at The Greenyards; Gala host Ayr and will be looking to add to their opening victory at Currie; and Stirling County and Edinburgh Accies play at home against Heriot’s and Glasgow Hawks respectively.
Dundee HSFP v Aberdeen Grammar, Mayfield, 3pm
The first North East derby of the season and Dundee anticipate a tight match with Aberdeen coming into RBS Premier 1 with confidence. Cam Wyper moves to the wing, Jamie Urquhart takes the 15 shirt and Jack Steel replaces, injured Harry Duthie. For Grammar captain Murray Douglas moves back into the second row.
Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said: “We were delighted to win on the road last week at Boroughmuir but many aspects of our game were not up to scratch and a great deal of work has gone into ironing these out.
“Aberdeen seem to be brimming with confidence after gaining promotion to RBS Premier 1 and running Melrose very close last week in their opening game at the top table.
“They will be targeting their closest away game which will no doubt add a real edge to the first North East Derby for a number of years. We’re all looking forward to giving them a Mayfield welcome.”
Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said: “After a tough opening encounter against Champions Melrose we are keen to bounce back in our local derby against our nearest neighbours Dundee HSFP.
“We have identified areas to improve on this week and are prepared for a formidable battle against a confident winning Dundee team from last week.”
Dundee HSFP team: Jamie Urquhart; Andrew McLean, Jack Steel, Robbie Lavery, Cam Wyper; Cam Brown, Andy Dymock; Neil Dymock (captain), Simon Forrest, Alan Brown, Richie Hawkins, Andy Linton, Andy Redmayne, Chris Cumming, Danny Levison.
Aberdeen Grammar team: Steven Aitken; Callum Anderson, Warwick Percival, Will Wardlaw, Erlend Oag; Rob Aloe (vice-captain), Morgan Ward; Matt Dixon, Sean O’Connor, Callum McConnachie, Ed Nimmons, Murray Douglas (captain), Rab Barrie, Tony McGuiness, Chris Allan.
Melrose v Currie, The Greenyards, 3pm
Currie will look to bounce back after losing at home to Gala last weekend, but it will be no easy feet as they play the current Champions and are carrying a number of injuries.
Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “We put in a disappointing performance last week and they don’t come any harder than a trip away to the Champions. An urgent improvement is required to pull out a win this weekend.”
Melrose team: TBC
Hawick v Boroughmuir, Mansfield Park, 3pm
The first competition for the Bill McLaren Shield, both teams will be looking to put in their best performances in order to take home the silverware.
Hawick head coach, Derek Armstrong, said: “It’s a privilege and an honour for the club to be asked to play for the Bill McLaren Shield in its first game. The players are well aware of what this means to the club and the town.”
Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said: “The squad is looking forward to the trip to Hawick.
“After last weeks performance Muir are looking to return to winning ways.
“It will be a hard game though with some special importance playing for the Bill McLaren Shield. It’s an honour to be the first two clubs playing for this Shield.”
Boroughmuir team: Sep Visser; Jordan Webster, Mark Hare, Stephen Wilson, Robert Cairns; Harry Leonard, Sam Johnson; Robin Hislop, Sean Crombie, Nick Fraser, Greg Scott, Ali Davidson, Matt Harvey, Andrew Rose, Iain Moddy.
Gala v Ayr, Netherdale, 3pm
Gala will look to continue their winning ways particularly at home in front of their supporters. However in Kenny Murray’s Ayr there is a lot of competition for places therefore their best XV will be out.
Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “It was important to get a win against Edinburgh Accies in our first game but we have had to work on various aspects of our play. This has been our focus all week as Gala will prove a very tough encounter at Netherdale.
“It’s early days in the season however following that ‘result of the week’, last weekend, at Malleny Park they will be bursting to get out on to their home pitch and show their support what they can do.
“We expect a very physical game, a big crowd and a warm welcome.”
Gala team: TBC
Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Steven Manning, Ross Curle, Robbie Fergusson, Cammy Taylor; Nick Elrick, Murray McConnell; Andy Kelly, Hayden Wisnewski, Stuart Fenwick, Scott Sutherland, Josh Dunning, Colin White, Ross Doneghan, Andy Dunlop.
Stirling County v Heriot’s, Bridgehaugh, 3pm
Stirling County make one change in the starting XV to play Heriot’s: Colin Hutton switches with Craig Black at tight-head.
Stirling County head coach, Eddie Pollock, said: “After a poor performance at Hawks last week we will be going all out to produce a good performance that will give us a chance to defeat Heriot’s.”
Stirling County team: Ben Addison; Graeme Linsay, Danny Gilmour, Brian Archibald, Ross Aitken; Stuart Edwards, Sean Kennedy; Steven Raby, Alex Moffat (captain), Colin Hutton, Craig Deacons, Robert McAlpine, Steve Swindall, Tim Clarke, Bengy Barssanti.
Heriots team: Colin Goudie; Andrew Scott, Sai Vono, Calum Mark, Jordan Kohn; Cammy Ferguson, Graham Wilson (captain); Alan Dymock, Kevin Bryce, Gavin Cameron, Ross Martin, Chukwuma Osazuwa, Robin Cessford, Matt Reid, Jason Hill.
Edinburgh Accies v Glasgow Hawks, Raeburn Place, 3pm
Edinburgh Accies will look to get their first home win of the season as well as their first win in RBS Premier 1 taking on Hawks at Raeburn Place. Simon Cross has only made one change to last week’s starting XV with Matt Coupar replacing Josh Pecqueur on the wing. Pecqueur drops to the bench.
Edinburgh Accies head coach, Simon Cross, said: “We had a tough introduction to RBS Premier 1 last week against Ayr and it doesn’t get any easier with Hawks.
“I expect them to be well organised and dangerous on the counter attack, while an accurate kicking game is a must.”