Rbs Premier 1 Preview: Round Five

Round 5 and the top division of domestic rugby couldn’t get any more exciting.

Another contest for the Bill McLaren Shield will take place with an extremely confident Gala outfit looking to snap up the silverware from an ever positive Boroughmuir, while it’s make or break for a number of other teams who haven’t yet come to form this season.

Aberdeen play Ayr at Rubislaw, Hawick host Stirling County, Hawks play Currie at Old Anniesland, Dundee host Edinburgh Accies and league leaders Melrose travel to Goldenacre to take on Heriot’s.

Round 5 and the top division of domestic rugby couldn’t get any more exciting.

Another contest for the Bill McLaren Shield will take place with an extremely confident Gala outfit looking to snap up the silverware from an ever positive Boroughmuir, while it’s make or break for a number of other teams who haven’t yet come to form this season.

Aberdeen play Ayr at Rubislaw, Hawick host Stirling County, Hawks play Currie at Old Anniesland, Dundee host Edinburgh Accies and league leaders Melrose travel to Goldenacre to take on Heriot’s.

 

 Aberdeen Grammar v Ayr, Rubislaw, 3pm

This game is definitely set to be an interesting battle, considering the past few weeks. Aberdeen will be looking to continue their string of wins as they host an upset Ayr, looking to redeem themselves after last week’s loss to Currie. The result of this match can seriously affect each of these team’s standings in the league.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said: “The squad is buoyed by back to back victories and delighted to record a victory at Mansfield Park.

“A big first half was enough to see us through a difficult second half. This squad continues to learn the perils of RBS Premier 1 rugby and each week we add a little more experience to our game management.

“We expect an Ayr blast this week as they attempt to bounce back after last week’s result.

“Finally, we’re fortunate to have a number of positions where there is strong competition for a starting place. Rab Barrie returns to blindside flanker, both Apelu Alapati and Fraser Lyle claim their first starts of the season and Richard Allen returns to tight-head prop.”

Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “The players and coaches were bitterly disappointed after last week's poor performance against Currie and there's no doubt a change of effort and determination is needed.

“Training has certainly reflected that this week. We’re in no doubt about the difficulty of the challenge facing us with a trip to Aberdeen to play a Grammar side who are on a roll and who enjoyed a well-earned victory at Hawick last week.
 
“Whilst we’re waiting for one or two confirmations we will be fielding our strongest available team and looking to our more experienced players to lead by example on Saturday. Hayden Wisnewski starts at hooker and Ross Curle returns to his favoured position of outside centre.”

Aberdeen Grammar team: Steven Aitken; Erland Oag, Fraser Lyle, Will Wardlaw, Apelu Alapti; Rob Aloe (vice-captain), Morgan Ward; Nicki Fraser, Sean O’Connor, Richard Allen, Ed Nimmons, Murray Douglas (captain), Rab Barrie, Tony McGuiness, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Matt Dixon, Callum McConnachie, Sandy Warnock, Alex Dunbar, Rob Lawson.

Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Steven Manning, Ross Curle, Mark Stewart (captain), Andrew Wilson; Robbie Ferguson, AJ MacFarlane; Craig Davidson, Hayden Wisnewski, Stuart Fenwick, Josh Dunning, Callum Templeton, Colin White or Graham Fisken, Ross Doneghan, Andy Dunlop.
Replacements: Andrew MacFarlane, David Young, Blair McPherson, Murray McConnell, Cammy Taylor.

 Hawick v Stirling County, Mansfield Park, 3pm

Again this match is expected to be a very interesting encounter. For Stirling County it’s a matter of building on last week’s win over Dundee and for Hawick, who are back at home, it’s about recording a win and moving up the table. Eddie Pollock shows confidence in last week’s side making only one change to the starting XV. He brings in Mike McDonald at prop.

Stirling County head coach, Eddie Pollock, said: “A good performance against Dundee last week needs to be backed up right away against a dangerous Hawick side.”

Hawick team: Neil McColm; Graeme Anderson, Gary Johnstone, Graham Hogg, Steven Anderson; Lee Armstrong, Greg Cottrell; Nicky Little, Lindsey Gibson, Bruce McNeil (captain), Keiran Willison, Barry Keown, Nick MacTaggart, Ryan Hogg, Keith Davis.
Replacements: Rory Sutherland, Hue Scammell, Danny Landels, Liam Lawrence, Tane Maihera.

Stirling County team: Ben Addison; Graeme Lindsay, Danny Gilmour, Brian Archibald, Ross Aitken; Stuart Edwards, Sean Kennedy; Mike McDonald, Alex Moffat (captain), Gary Mountford, Craig Deacons, Robert McAlpine, Tim Clarke, Robbie Boswell, Steve Swindall.
Replacements: Andy Simpson, Steven Raby, Adam Ashe, Bengy Barsanti, Craig Robertson.

Glasgow Hawks v Currie, Old Anniesland, 3pm 

Hawks didn’t manage to put a point on the board last weekend at the Greenyards, so back at home they will want to record another win in the 2011/12 RBS Premier 1. Currie have only made one change to the XV that beat Ayr last week with James Johnstone being replaced by Barry Mansfield.

Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “Hawks will be disappointed to lose last week and desperate to get the show back on the road.

“They have a team stacked with good players and are very well organised.

“Our performance was better last week but we still have a lot to work on, particularly to play to our potential.”

Glasgow Hawks team: TBC.
Replacements: TBC.

Currie team: Jamie Forbes; Barry Mansfield, Douglas Fife, Andy MacMahon, David Smith; Andrew Binikos, Richard Sneddon; John Cox, Fergus Scott, Colin Phillips, Adam Best, Gary Temple, Mark Cairns, Malcolm Peacock, Ross Weston.
Replacements: Billy Elmslie, Ross Merrilees, Steve Burton, Simon Marcell, Alan Whittingham.

 Dundee HSFP v Edinburgh Accies, Mayfield, 3pm

Both teams in this encounter suffered defeats last weekend, therefore a win will be first on the agenda for each coach. Phil Jenkinson makes his debut for Dundee from the bench against his old club and Kenny Blyth returns from injury to make his first start of the season for Accies.

Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said: “Having agreed that we needed to put teams away and to take all our scoring chances we conspired to do the exact opposite against Stirling last week.

“The penalty off the post in the last minute of the game, which ultimately gave Stirling the victory, was a reward for their tenacity. They took all their chances and we got exactly what we deserved.

Accies who have had a great start on their return to the top division were derailed last week by a rampant Boroughmuir and I’m sure they will come to Dundee determined to get back to winning ways.”

Edinburgh Accies head coach, Simon Cross, said: “We’re looking to bounce back after a disappointing defensive display against Boroughmuir.

“We were taught a very harsh lesson in clinical finishing, but this is all good experience for a young side and I’m sure they’ll learn from it.”

Dundee HSFP team: Cameron Wyper; Andrew McLean, Robbie Lavery, Harry Duthie, Jamie Urquhart; Cam Brown, Andy Dymock; Neil Dymock (captain), Simon Forrest, Alan Brown, Richard Hawkins, Andy Linton, Andy Redmanye, Chris Cumming, Danny Levison.
Replacements: Callum Kerr, Darell Russell, Phil Jenkinson, Jamie Morrison, Stewart Coleman.

Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Euan Bonner, Ross Browne, Iain Berthinussen, Josh Pecqueur; Ruaridh Bonner, Alex Black; Duncan MacLeod, Michael Liness, Kenny Blyth, Greg Campbell, Angus Graham, Dan Teague (captain), Jamie Taggart, Tom Drennan.
Replacements: Chris Murray, Scott Jeffers or Andrew Kelly, Nathan Pike, Stuart Evans, Mike Campbell.

Heriot’s v Melrose, Goldenacre, 3pm

This match is league leaders versus mid-table. Melrose have won all their games so far this season and don’t look like slowing down any time soon. Heriot’s opened the season with two wins, but have let their form slip in the last two rounds, so will want to put as much pressure as possible on Craig Chalmer’s men while at home.

Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “We’re looking forward to what I expect to be a tough encounter at Goldenacre.

“We lost a tight game there in the league last season, so we'll be looking to try and avenge that narrow defeat this season.

“Heriot's play an attractive brand of rugby under Mark Appleson, so it should be an open expansive game. We were delighted last week with our defence, but we do need to start finishing off more of the chances that we’re creating.”

Heriot’s team: TBC
Replacements: TBC

Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Alan Dodds, Jamie Murray, Cameron Murray, Joe Helps; Andrew Skeen, Bruce Colvine; Chris Keen, Richard Ferguson, Gary Holborn, Gary Elder, Ross Miller, John Dalziel, Grant Runciman, Graham Dodds (captain).
Replacements: Wayne Mitchell, Keiran Cooney, Peter Eccles, Scott McCormick, Bruce Dick.

Boroughmuir v Gala, Meggetland, 3pm

This is the third Bill McLaren Shield match of the season and Gala’s first chance to get their hands on the silverware. It’s destined to be a brilliant game with the two teams positioned at three and four in the league looking to work their way up the table and add to their winning tally, but one must break this weekend.

Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said: “The games don’t get any easier – Gala have had a good start to their return to the top division and are a well drilled side.

“They will be a different side to what we played in August at Meggetland. The squad are looking to up the intensity this week.”

Boroughmuir team: Sep Visser; Robert Cairns, Stephen Wilson, Mark Hare, Jordan Webster; Ally Warnock, Sam Johnson; Nick Fraser, Sean Crombie, Bryce Blair, Greg Scott, Matt Harvey, Andrew Rose, Alex Henderson, Jamie Swanson.
Replacements: Callum MacKintosh, John Latta, Ali Davidson, Iain Moody, Murray Buchan.

Gala team: Bryce Turner; Shaun Law, Chris Auld, Craig Borthwick, Craig Robertson; Lee Millar, George Graham; Lewis Bertram, Russell Anderson, Ewan McQuillin, Dave Marshall, Opeta Palepoi, Garry Graham, Garry Lowrie, Euan Dodds.
Replacements: Paul Stewart, Steve Cairns, Craig Keddie, Andy McLean, Alan Emond.