Rbs Premier 1 Preview: Round Ten

It’s now only two weekends to go until the RBS Premier split takes place.
 
As it stands the top eight are almost set with eight points separating Stirling County in eighth and Edinburgh Accies in ninth, but in the fashion of this year’s competition anything can happen over the next two weekends.
 
This weekend sees Gala attempt to defend the Bill McLaren Shield for a third time against Aberdeen Grammar; Heriot’s challenge Borougmuir at Goldenacre; Accies travel to The Greenyards to play Melrose; Glasgow Hawks host Dundee; Currie welcome Stirling County to Malleny Park and Hawick travel to Millbrae to take on Ayr. 

It’s now only two weekends to go until the RBS Premier split takes place.
 
As it stands the top eight are almost set with eight points separating Stirling County in eighth and Edinburgh Accies in ninth, but in the fashion of this year’s competition anything can happen over the next two weekends.
 
This weekend sees Gala attempt to defend the Bill McLaren Shield for a third time against Aberdeen Grammar; Heriot’s challenge Borougmuir at Goldenacre; Accies travel to The Greenyards to play Melrose; Glasgow Hawks host Dundee; Currie welcome Stirling County to Malleny Park and Hawick travel to Millbrae to take on Ayr. 

Gala v Aberdeen Grammar, Netherdale, 3pm

Both teams at Netherdale this Saturday are now secure in the top eight so for Gala it will be a case of holding the top spot, while Grammar have the ability of climbing up another place. Geroge Graham makes one change to the Gala starting XV bringing Craig Borthwick into the inside centre berth, whereas, Alex Duncan makes seven changes to last week’s starting line-up introducing Glasgow Warriors Alex Dunbar in the centre and Apelu Alapati onto the wing for his first start of the season.
 
Gala head coach, George Graham, said: “A good win last weekend at Accies with some good attacking rugby from both sides. Yet again our defence showed we can keep our opponents at bay.
 
“This weekend at Netherdale we find ourselves at the sharp end of the season against a confident Aberdeen Grammar.”
 
Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said: “With a hard-fought second-half comeback last week against Heriot’s the squad have notched up a run of three successful wins and have secured a place in the top eight.
 
“We now have the challenge of going to Netherdale to play a high-flying Gala. This is definitely shaping up to be a good game!”
 
Gala team: Bryce Turner; Shaun Law, Chris Auld, Craig Borthwick, Craig Robertson; Lee Millar, George Graham; Lewis Bertram, Russell Anderson, Ewan McQuillin, Chris Weir, Opeta Palepoi, David Marshall, Gary Lowrie, Euan Dods.
Replacements: Jack Gilding, Gary Lowrie, Gregor Hunter, Andy McLean, Alan Emond.
 
Aberdeen Grammar team: Steven Aitken  (vice-captain); Callum Anderson, Will Wardlaw, Alex Dunbar, Apelu Alapati; Rob Aloe, Morgan Ward; Nicki Fraser, Sean O’Connor, Richard Allen, Ed Nimmons, Murray Douglas (captain), Sandy Warnock, Tony McGuiness, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Callum McConnachie, Sam Bingham, Rab Barrie, Erland Oag, Rob Lawson.  

Heriot’s v Boroughmuir, Goldenacre, 3pm 

With the home advantage and an Edinburgh derby on the cards for Heriot’s this weekend, they will be desperate to get back to winning ways. However, Boroughmuir sit in seventh place in RBS Premier 1 and will want to make their position in the top eight more secure.
 
Heriot’s head coaches, Mark Appleson and Graham Marshall, said: “Despite an excellent first-half performance and scoring two well-crafted tries this proved insufficient against a well-drilled Aberdeen team.
 
“Once again captain Graham Wilson led by example with mentions also for Fraser Brown and Alan Dymock.
 
“In an effort to find that elusive win, this week sees the ever-youthful Gregor Lawson starting at full-back with Colin Goudie moving to the wing and Andy Scott moving to the bench.”
 
Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said: “The win against Hawks was a confidence boost for the squad after what was a poor performance against Ayr the week before.
 
“We know Heriots at Goldenacre will be a totally different proposition as they will be desperate to get back to winning ways. 

“They have a strong setpiece and usually keep the opposition back three busy with Graeme Wilson’s kicking game.
 
“We’ll be looking to put their half backs under pressure and contest well at the setpiece to get a foothold on the game.”
 
Heriot’s team: Gregor Lawson; Colin Goudie, Cameron Ferguson, Jordy Kohn, Max Learmouth; Sam Hidalgo Clyne, Graham Wilson; Alan Dymock, Kevin Bryce, Struan Cameron, Ross Martin, Matt Reid, Robin Cessford, Fraser Brown, Jason Hill.
Replacements: Gavin Cameron, Stuart Mustard, Ruaridh Wilson, Max Nimmo, Andy Scott.
 
Boroughmuir team: Sep Visser; Ross Bradford, Stevie Wilson, Mark Hare, Jordan Webster; Ally Warnock, Sam Johnson; Nick Fraser, Sean Crombie, Bryce Blair, Greg Scott, Ali Davidson, Matt Harvey, Andrew Rose, Iain Moody.
Replacements: Callum MacKintosh, Jonny Latta, Jamie Swanson, Dale Gordon, Rob Cairns. 

Melrose v Edinburgh Accies, The Greenyards, 3pm

Melrose will be hurting after their loss at Bridgehaugh last weekend and with the home advantage will look to redeem themselves. However Accies will also be looking to get back to winning ways after a series of defeats. For the Edinburgh side Jamie Farndale has first start of the season and Robin Snape returns from injury.
 
Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “Last weekend at Stirling was a totally unacceptable first 60 minutes from a team with championship ambitions.
 
“It was sloppy and error-strewn and the players are all well aware of what must happen this weekend. We must have a positive reaction and get some consistency back into our overall performance.
 
“It's been a long week, but now it's time to go out and express ourselves and put some smiles back on our players and our supporters’ faces.”
 
Edinburgh Accies head coach, Simon Cross, said: “A disappointing performance last week has led to a number of changes. 

“I can’t ignore the second XV results of late and a number of them will get their chance against a decent Melrose team who will be looking to bounce back after their loss last weekend.
 
“We are delighted to have Andrew Kelly and Lewis Niven available.”
 
Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Jamie Farndale, Paul Suiter, Iain Berthinussen, Jake Knight; Ruaridh Bonner, Mike Campbell; Duncan Morrison, Andrew Kelly, Lewis Niven, Greg Campbell, Robin Snape, Dan Teague (captain), Andy Lamb, Tom Stuart.
Replacements: Michael Liness, Kenny Blyth, Tom Drennan, James Taggart, Euan Bonner.
 
Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Alan Dodds, Jamie Murray, James King, Joe Helps; Scott Wight, Scott McCormick; Chris Keen, Alun Walker, Nick Beavon, Gary Elder, Ross Miller, Stuart Johnston, Graham Dodds, Grant Runciman.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Ruari McLeod, Ross Ovens, Andrew Skeen, Cammie Murray. 

Glasgow Hawks v Dundee HSFP, Old Anniesland, 3pm 

Ian Rankin shows faith in his starting XV as they remain unchanged after their victory against Ayr last weekend.
 
Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said: “Having beaten Ayr and Melrose in the last few weeks and a last minute defeat to Currie the challenge is for a very settled squad to keep up that level of intensity against a Hawks outfit that will be desperate for a result with just two games until the break in the league programme.”
 
Dundee HSFP team: Cam Wyper; Andrew McLean, Robbie Lavery, Harry Duthie, James Fleming; Cam Brown, Andy Dymock; Neil Dymock (captain), Simon Forrest, Alan Brown, Richard Hawkins, Andy Linton, Chris Cumming, Richie McIver, Danny Levison.
Replacements: Darell Russell, Gavin Robertson, Andy Redmayne, Rory Pitman, Tom Seabala. 

Currie v Stirling County, Bridgehaugh, 3pm 

Currie are forced to make a number of changes due to injury, while County remain unchanged in the starting XV. The Edinburgh outfit fight with Dundee (both 30 points) for the third spot while County look to ensure their position in the top eight. They currently sit eighth, two points behind Borougnmuir.
 
Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “Stirling will obviously be buoyed by a great result last week and are a very good team who are almost guaranteed their place in the top eight.
 
“After a difficult start, losing their first three matches like ourselves, their form has picked up considerably only losing once since then.
 
“Another week, another big match at Malleny Park.”
 
Currie team: Jamie Forbes; Barry Mansfield, Douglas Fife, Andy MacMahon, David Smith; Andrew Binikos, Chris Leck; John Cox, Fergus Scott, Ross Merriless, Andy Adam, Gary Temple, Steve Burton, Mike Entwhistle, Mark Cairns (captain).
Replacements: Billy Elmslie, Neil Scobie, Simon Marcell, Malcolm Peacock, Alan Whittingham.
 
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, Stevie Swindall.
Replacements: J. Graham, C. Hutton, R Leishman, S. Robertson, M. Doneghan. 

Ayr v Hawick, Millbrae, 3pm 

Both teams will be desperate for a win this weekend. Ayr bring Cammy Taylor and Blair McPherson into the starting XV while Hawick’s backs are completely changed bar Greg Cottrell at 9.
 
Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “The team is desperate to make amends for last week's defeat against Dundee. They are a well-organised side and took their chances but we committed too many errors.
 
“These mistakes prove costly at this level. Hawick, as ever, will have our full respect as they are always a competitive side and will wish to put in a good performance following the Currie match.
 
“It has been an exciting and interesting league this season with teams desperate to stay in the top eight and garner valuable points for British and Irish Cup qualification, so this is a crucial match for us.
 
“We expect another big crowd on Saturday and the players will want to send them away with a smile on their faces.”
 
Hawick head coaches, John Johnstone and Jim Renwick, said: “We welcome Rory Hutton back from Australia and introduce 4 young YM players into the squad.”
 
Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Steven Manning, Richard Dalgleish, Mark Stewart (captain), Cammy Taylor; Robbie Ferguson, AJ MacFarlane; TBC, Hayden Wisnewski, Gordon Sykes, Blair McPherson, Colin White, John Willis, Andy Dunlop, Graham Fisken.
Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, Craig Davidson, Ross Doneghan, Sylvain Diez, Murray McConnell.
 
Hawick team: Neil Renwick; Glynn Desport, Gary Johnstone, Graham Hogg, Craig Russell; Rory Hutton, Greg Cottrell; Rory Sutherland, Hue Scammell, Sean Linton, Barrie Keown, Keith Davies, Nick MacTaggart, Danny Landels, Bruce McNeil (captain).
Replacements: Lindsey Gibson, Stuart Graham, Jamie Tinlin, Chris Ritson, Steve Anderson.