Rbs Premier 1 Preview: Round Eleven

RBS Premier 1 has had its fair share of upsets and surprises so far this season and with the last weekend upon us there is still plenty room for the unexpected.

This Saturday Gala host Melrose at Netherdale in what promises to be an exciting encounter. The winner will lead the way going into RBS Premier A and there is the Bill McLaren Shield to be defended successfully one last time in order for Gala’s name to be the first engraving on the silverware.

Elsewhere, Aberdeen Grammar host Boroughmuir, Heriot’s travel to Mayfield to take on Dundee HSFP, Edinburgh Accies and Currie go head-to-head in a local derby at Raeburn Place, Hawick welcome Glasgow Hawks to Mansfield Park and Ayr travel to Stirling County.

RBS Premier 1 has had its fair share of upsets and surprises so far this season and with the last weekend upon us there is still plenty room for the unexpected.

This Saturday Gala host Melrose at Netherdale in what promises to be an exciting encounter. The winner will lead the way going into RBS Premier A and there is the Bill McLaren Shield to be defended successfully one last time in order for Gala’s name to be the first engraving on the silverware.

Elsewhere, Aberdeen Grammar host Boroughmuir, Heriot’s travel to Mayfield to take on Dundee HSFP, Edinburgh Accies and Currie go head-to-head in a local derby at Raeburn Place, Hawick welcome Glasgow Hawks to Mansfield Park and Ayr travel to Stirling County.

Gala v Melrose, Netherdale, 3pm

Both coaches make minimal changes for arguably the most interesting of fixtures this weekend. The winner of this game takes the top spot, and if Gala manage to retain pole position they will be the first club to be engraved on the Bill McLaren Shield.
 
Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “They don't come any bigger than this!

“Gala are flying high and are deservedly top of RBS Premier 1 on merit. They are full of confidence, working really hard for each other, playing some very clever basic rugby under the guidance of experienced coach George Graham.

“The most impressive part of their game for me is their defence, which is the best in the league.

“We are well aware that we need to raise our level of performance this week if we are to have any chance of breaching that defence. Our discipline must also be very good as Gala have the lethal boot of Lee Miller that will hurt us if given opportunities at goal.

“It’s great to see two Border clubs doing so well and it promises to be a great game with a huge local crowd behind their respective teams.”

Gala team: Bryce Turner; Shaun Law, Chris Auld, Alan Emond, Gavin Young; Lee Millar, George Graham; Ewin McQuillin, Russell Anderson, Jack Gilding, Chris Weir, Opeta Palepoi, Garry Graham, Gary Lowrie, Euan Dods.
Replacements: Lewis Betram, Craig Keddie, David MArshall, Andy McLean, Craig Borthwick.
 
Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Alan Dodds, Jamie Murray, Cammy Murray, Simon Webster; Scott Wight, Scott McCormick; Chris Keen, Alun Walker, Nick Beavon, Gary Elder, Peter Eccles, Ross Miller, Graham Dodds, Grant Runciman.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Kieran Cooney, Stuart Johnston, Bruce Colvine, James King. 

Aberdeen Grammar v Boroughmuir, Rubislaw, 2pm 

With both teams secure in the top eight, but sitting in 7th and 8th respectively, this game will be about starting to climb up the table and achieving the best position possible before RBS Premier A kicks off. For Grammar Alex Haggart and Stuart Smith could make their season debuts and Apelu Alapati retains his place after a strong performance last week. Boroughmuir welcome Neil Rodger and Robbie Wilson from the 2s.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said: “A very disappointing first half against Gala leaves the squad with unfinished business going into the last game of the first round of RBS Premier 1.

“The character and ambition shown in the second half, resulting in three well-taken tries, was positive and demonstrates the resolve of this squad.

“Sitting at five wins and five losses this game is highly significant for a whole host of reasons and I’m sure we will see a very strong performance for our last home game for some time against Boroughmuir.”

Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said:  “After the disappointment of last week we travel north to face an Aberdeen side who have been going well in their return to the premiership.”
 
Aberdeen Grammar team: Steven Aitken; Erland Oag, Apelu Alapati, Will Wardlaw, Callum Anderson; Rob Aloe, Rob Lawson; Nicki Fraser, Sean O’Connor, Callum McConnachie, Ed Nimmons, Murray Douglas (captain), Rab Barrie, Tony McGuiness, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Matt Dixon, Richard Allen, Stuart Smith, Alex Haggart or Warwick Percival, Morgan Ward.
 
Boroughmuir team: Harris Jones; Sep Visser, Stevie Wilson, Mark Hare, Jordan Webster; Ally Warnock, Sam Johnson; Nick Fraser, Sean Crombie, Jonny Latta, Greg Scott, Ali Davidson, Matt Harvey, Andrew Rose, Iain Moody.
Replacements: Bryce Blair, Robbie Wilson, Jamie Swanson, Neil Rodger, Ross Bradford. 

Dundee HSFP v Heriot’s, Mayfield, 2pm 

After a confident win at Meggetland last week Heriot’s will be keen to keep improving and record another win in order to end the first half of the season on a high. Third placed Dundee on the other hand will be keen to place pressure on the two Border sides at the top.
 
Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said: “Heriot’s will be delighted with their last minute win over Boroughmuir last Saturday which will have given them confidence after a disappointing run in the first half of the league.

“As always there will be quite a number of interesting reunions with Heriot’s large ex Dundee contingent but the overriding focus will be to continue our improvement in game management and maintain 80 minutes of concentration.”
 
Heriot’s head coaches, Mark Appleson and Graham Marshall, said: “A bruising encounter with Boroughmuir left a couple of players carrying niggling injuries, however, on the whole this was a hugely positive step for Heriot’s, which combined solid driving forward play with elements of flair from the back division, led by the ever-consistent Graham Wilson.”

Dundee HSFP team: Cam Wyper; Andrew McLean, Robbie Lavery, Harry Duthie, Tom Seabala; 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, Jamie Morrison, Colin Strachan.

Heriot’s team: Gregor Lawson; Colin Goudie, Max Nimmo, Calum Mark, Max Learmouth; Sam Hidalgo Clyne, Graham Wilson; Alan Dymock, Stuart Mustard, Struan Cessford, Ross Martin, Matt Reid, Robin Cessford, Fraser Brown, Jason Hill.
Replacements: Chris Mulligan, Gavin Cameron, Ruaridh Wilson, Nick Alston, Andy Scott. 

Edinburgh Accies v Currie, Raeburn Place, 2pm  

As with any local derby this will be a close-fought encounter with both sides looking to bounce back from their defeats to Melrose and Stirling County respectively.
 
Edinburgh Accies head coach, Simon Cross, said: “This group really came of age last week against Melrose, and as such, they have an opportunity to impress against another top club.

“I thought the players did enough to win the game last week, I’d now love for them to finish the first round of games off on a high.”

Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “Accies have put together some good performances and have missed out on victories in recent weeks which has unfortunately consigned them to RBS Premier B.

“They will definitely want to finish RBS Premier 1 on a high and a full-blooded encounter is expected.

“We let ourselves down in several areas last week but have enjoyed a very positive week’s training.”
 
Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Jamie Farndale, Paul Suiter, Iain Berthinussen, Jake Knight; Ruaridh Bonner, Mike Campbell; Duncan Morrison, Michael Liness, Kenny Blyth, Greg Campbell, Tom Drennan, Dan Teague (captain), Andy Lamb, Tom Stuart.
Replacements: Chris Murray, Scot Jeffers, Angus Graham, James Taggart, Euan Bonner.
 
Currie team: Jamie Forbes; Alan Whittingham, Douglas Fife, Andy MacMahon, James Johnstone; Andrew Binikos, Johnny Bruton; John Cox, Fergus Scott, Ross Merriless, Simon Marcell, Gary Temple, Mark Cairns (captain), Mike Entwhistle, Ross Weston.
Replacements: Billy Elmslie, Neil Scobie, Steve Burton, Malcolm Peacock, Ross Neill. 

Hawick v Glasgow Hawks, Mansfield Park, 3pm 

Hawick v Glasgow Hawks, Mansfield Park, 3pmHawick came so close to a win last Saturday bringing Ayr to within two points on the road, now they are back at home they will be desperate to record their first win of the season.
 
Hawick head coaches, John Johnstone and Jim Renwick, said: “After last Saturdays close result we hope to go one better and record our first league win.”
 
Hawick team: Gary Johnstone; Neil McColm, John Coutts, Graham Hogg, Craig Russell; Rory Hutton, Greg Cottrell; Rory Sutherland, Hue Scammell, Bruce McNeil (captain), Michael Robertson, Gavin Petrie, Nick MacTaggart, Keith Davies, Danny Landels.
Replacements: Matthew Landels, Lindsey Gibson, Jamie Tinlin, Glyn Desport, Lee Armstrong.

Glasgow Hawks team: TBC
Replacements: TBC 

Stirling County v Ayr, Bridgehaugh, 3pm 

Stirling County have played and defeated two of the three British and Irish Cup teams in the past two weeks. They will take confidence from this as they go head-to-head with Ayr on Saturday. Ayr have struggled in the past few weeks and will want to get their season back on track.
 
Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “Last week was a disappointing performance against a Hawick side that were hungrier, more aggressive and who in all truth should have won the game.

“We are expecting a very tough trip to Stirling who have been flying high with great results against Currie and Melrose in the past two weeks.”

Stirling County team: TBC
Replacements: TBC

Ayr team: Logan Basson; Steven Manning, Grant Anderson, Mark Stewart, Cammy Taylor; Robbie Ferguson, AJ MacFarlane; Andy Kelly, Hayden Wisnewski, Gordon Sykes, Blair McPherson, Colin White, Peter McCallum, Andy Dunlop, John Willis.
Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, Craig Davidson, Craig Brown, Murray McConnell, Murray Beckwith.