Rbs Premier 1 Preview: Round Six

This weekend’s fixtures mark the half way point in the lead up to the league split in November.

RBS Premier 1 in the opening rounds has been filled with many surprises and twists, as a few of the 2010/11 form teams are struggling and some of the new recruits are flying, notably Gala.

This trend is not set to slow down either with every fixture this Saturday certain to provide it’s own spice to the already startling tale that is RBS Premier 1 2011/12.

This weekend’s fixtures mark the half way point in the lead up to the league split in November.

RBS Premier 1 in the opening rounds has been filled with many surprises and twists, as a few of the 2010/11 form teams are struggling and some of the new recruits are flying, notably Gala.

This trend is not set to slow down either with every fixture this Saturday certain to provide it’s own spice to the already startling tale that is RBS Premier 1 2011/12. 

Stirling County v Aberdeen Grammar, Bridgehaugh, 3pm 

Eddie Pollock shows faith in last weekends starting XV as they remain unchanged, while Alex Duncan welcomes back centre, Warwick Percival, for what promises to be an exciting clash.

Stirling County head coach, Eddie Pollock, said: “Aberdeen against Stirling is always a great contest and we expect a great tussle against a team that have settled in well to the top flight.

“Our goal is to keep improving every week, and the players have really stepped up to the mark this week at training.”

Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said: “The squad were deflated after a disappointing performance against a stuffy, determined Ayr side desperate to notch another win.

“The players have reviewed a number of performance aspects going into this week’s big game against Stirling.

“Despite the disappointing performance we still picked up a bonus point to maintain our track record having picked up one in every game to date.

“We are no strangers to Stirling and we appreciate the size of the significant challenge that lies await at Bridgehaugh.”

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, Jamie Mountford, Bengy Barsanti, Craig Robertson.

Aberdeen Grammar team: Steven Aitken; Erland Oag, Will Wardlaw, Warwick Percival, Apelu Alapti; Rob Aloe (vice-captain), Rob Lawson; 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, Fraser Lyle, Morgan Ward. 

Ayr v Glasgow Hawks, Millbrae, 3pm  

Both teams will be desperate for a win so they can establish themselves in a better position in the league. With the first West coast rivalry in RBS Premier 1 this season it is set to be a fiery encounter. Kenny Murray welcomes former Taranaki flanker to the fold for his pink and black debut.

Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “Last week's win away to Aberdeen was important for us following the Currie defeat. Rubislaw is a difficult place to go but our defence was excellent and we snuffed out any Aberdeen attack.

“We were disappointed at missing two or three good scoring chances and have been working on that this week.

“Hawks at Millbrae presents a different challenge, they will be desperate to get a win after their defeat at Currie, that and the fact they are playing their main rivals in the West so there's always an edge to this fixture.

“We expect a difficult game but can't wait to get going.”

Glasgow Hawks head coach, Peter Wright, said: “We have said to the players this week that we must get our organisation right both in attack and defence, something we have worked hard on in training.

“Millbrae is never an easy place to visit and will be a real challenge for some of our younger players, but we’re looking forward to it.” 

Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Sylvian Diez, Robbie Ferguson, Mark Stewart (captain), Steven Manning; Ross Curle, AJ MacFarlane; Andrew Kelly, Hayden Wisnewski, Stuart Fenwick, Josh Dunning, Colin White, John Willis, Andy Dunlop, Graham Fisken.
Replacements: Andrew MacFarlane, Craig Davidson, Callum Templeton, Murray McConnell, Cammy Taylor.

Glasgow Hawks team: Peter Jericevich; Tom Steven, Paddy Robinson, Robert Wilson, Kerr Gossman; Mike Martin, Kris Hamilton; Steven Findlay, Eric Milligan, John Lohoar, Rory McKay, Nick Campbell, Steven Lecky, Bart Karalus, Andrea Barbieri.
Replacements: Gareth Davis, Paul Henderson, Rory Hamilton, Sean Murray, Gavin McDonald.  

Edinburgh Accies v Hawick, Raeburn Place, 3pm 

Hawick came one step closer to their first win of the season last weekend as they drew with Stirling County, while Edinburgh Accies will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Dundee. Jake Knight will make his first start of the Edinburgh side after his hard work with the 2s.

Edinburgh Accies head coach, Simon Cross, said: “Mistakes in or own half cost us the game against Dundee. They were very clinical and made the most of the possession they had.

“We need to be much more accurate this week against a hungry Hawick side. I’m looking forward to seeing how our players react.”

Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Josh Pecqueur, Gavin Douglas, Iain Berthinussen, Jake Knight; Ruaridh Bonner, Alex Black; Duncan MacLeod, Michael Liness, Kenny Blyth, Greg Campbell, Angus Graham, Dan Teague (captain), Jamie Taggart, Tom Drennan.
Replacements: Tom Hitchins, Chris Murray, Nathan Pike, Ross Browne, Mike Campbell.

Hawick team: Neil McColm; Steven Douglas, Gary Johnstone, John Houston, Steven Anderson; Greg Cottrell, Liam Lawrence; Rory Sutherland, Hue Scammell, Nicky Little, Keiran Willison, Michael Robertson, Nick MacTaggart, Keith Davis, Bruce McNeil (captain).
Replacements: Ryan Hogg, Matthew Landels, Danny Landels, Tane Maihera. 

Currie v Heriot’s, Malleny Park, 3pm 

These two teams currently sit next to each other, a point apart, in the bottom half of the table. The winner of the match will ease the pressure to make the split while the loser will put themselves in a difficult position to fight back from.

Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “Heriot’s were upbeat after their performance against Melrose and held the league leaders for most of the match.

“They have quality players and coaches and will approach this week with confidence. For our part we are reaching a consistency in selection and hope this can be mirrored with consistency of performance.

We enjoy playing at Malleny Park and look forward to hosting Heriot’s.”

Heriot’s head coaches, Mark Appleson and Graham Marshall, said: “Though we suffered a heavy defeat against Melrose last weekend there was a lot of positives we could take from the performance.

“Kevin Bryce, Graham Wilson and Andy Scott all put in excellent performances.”

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, Steve Burton, Mike Entwhistle, Ross Weston.
Replacements: Billy Elmslie, Ross Merrilees, Simon Marcell, Malcolm Peacock, Alan Whittingham.

Heriot’s team: Colin Goudie; Andy Scott, Max Nimmo, Jordy Kohn, Max Learmouth; Cammy Ferguson, Graham Wilson; Alan Dymock, Kevin Bryce, Gavin Cameron, Ross Martin, CJ Osazuwa, Matt Reid, Robin Cessford, Jason Hill.
Replacements: Chris Mulligan, Struan Cessford, Ruaridh Wilson, Richard Tran, Calum Mark.  

Gala v Dundee HSFP, Netherdale, 3pm 

Currently two points separate these teams in second and third place in RBS Premier 1. Each team has won four of their five matches. The question then is who will break first? Gala will be confident as they have their home crowd behind them and will be looking to defend the Bill McLaren shield at all costs.

Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said: “We had a good reaction to the dismal performance at Stirling with a real step up against Accies last week in terms of accuracy and intensity.

“Gala are undoubtedly the form team in RBS Premier 1 and have enjoyed a spectacular return to the top table taking a number of notable scalps so far.

“This game at Netherdale will be undoubtedly our toughest challenge of the season and promises to be an intriguing contest.”

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

Dundee HSFP team: Cameron Wyper; Andrew McLean, Robbie Lavery, Jack Steele, Jamie Urquhart; Cam Brown, Andy Dymock; Neil Dymock (captain), Simon Forrest, Alan Brown, Richard Hawkins, Andy Linton, Richie McIver, Chris Cumming, Danny Levison.
Replacements: Darell Russell, Gavin Robertson, Phil Jenkinson, Stuart Barlow, Harry Duthie.  

Melrose v Boroughmuir, The Greenyards, 3pm 

Craig Chalmers will look to continue Melrose’s 100% run of five wins on the trot, while Boroughmuir will be hurting from a home loss to Gala last weekend and will be looking to bounce back.

Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “It’s good to get back home after a tough away game against Heriot's who gave us a good test, especially in the first 60mins.

“Boroughmuir will be looking to get back to winning ways after a disappointing result against Gala.

“They are a team who are well coached by Phil Smith and Fergus Pringle; they play positive attractive rugby and are very dangerous.

“They have some experienced old heads, but also have a raft of young talent who can cause real problems for any team. We will have to play well to get the win to keep our good start to the season going.”

Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said: “They don’t get easier than a visit to the Greenyards, particularly as Melrose are riding high at present.

“Both teams play an open type of rugby so this should be an exciting game for the neutral – we are in no doubt this will be another physical encounter.”

Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Nick McGrath, Jamie Murray, Cameron Murray, Joe Helps; Andrew Skeen, Bruce Colvine; Chris Keen, Richard Ferguson, Nick Beavon, Gary Elder, Ross Miller, John Dalziel, Grant Runciman, Graham Dodds (captain).
Replacements: Alun Walker, Keiran Cooney, Peter Eccles, Scott McCormick, Scott Wight.

Boroughmuir team: Sep Visser; Ross Bradford, Harry Leonard, Stephen Wilson, Jordan Webster; Ally Warnock, Sam Johnson; Bryce Blair, Sean Crombie, Nick Fraser, Greg Scott, Matt Harvey, Jamie Swanson, Andrew Rose, Iain Moody.
Replacements: Jonny Latta, Robin Hislop, Ali Davidson, Neil Rodger, Mark Hare.