Rbs Premier A Preview: Round 3

The fight for the domestic season’s highest accolade resumes this weekend with some mouth-watering clashes on the menu. 

Melrose currently lead the competition, but only three points separates them in first place and Gala in fourth. Currie and Dundee HSFP have well recently and at present are perched between the two Border clubs.
 
It’s important to remember though Currie and Gala have played one extra match, being the only two teams to run out a fortnight ago, thanks to Netherdale’s undersoil heating.

The fight for the domestic season’s highest accolade resumes this weekend with some mouth-watering clashes on the menu.
 
Melrose currently lead the competition, but only three points separates them in first place and Gala in fourth. Currie and Dundee HSFP have well recently and at present are perched between the two Border clubs.
 
It’s important to remember though Currie and Gala have played one extra match, being the only two teams to run out a fortnight ago, thanks to Netherdale’s undersoil heating.
 
Below the top four are Ayr, Aberdeen Grammar, Stirling County and Boroughmuir. Twelve points separate Ayr in fifth and Boroughmuir at the bottom, so for these four teams this weekend will be about securing a win and improving their current standing.
 
This will be no easy task though, as this weekend’s fixtures see the top four teams take on the bottom four teams with all matches kicking off at the later time of 3pm.
 
Melrose welcome Ayr to the Greenyards, Currie travel to Bridgehaugh to play Stirling County, Gala are at home against Boroughmuir and Aberdeen Grammar host their closest rivals, Dundee HSFP, at Rubislaw.

Melrose v Ayr, The Greenyards, 3pm

Melrose currently sit on top and Ayr are outwith the top three British and Irish Cup places. There’s all to play for at the Greenyards on Saturday, so for the neutral observer this game is likely to produce some fast-paced entertainment.
 
Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “It's been three weeks since our last game, but the boys have trained well indoors and out.
 
“Ayr are a top side with quality players throughout. We are under no illusion how hard a game it will be.”
 
Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “This is without doubt a league-defining match. Melrose won the league against us last season at the Greenyards and their home record overall is very impressive.
 
“Losing to Dundee there however will have them fully-focussed for this game and we are expecting nothing other than a very tough encounter.
 
“We were well beaten in our first game at Millbrae and they must definitely start as favourites. However, our boys are desperate to get into action and make up for that defeat.
 
“We have worked very hard in training and the Ayr players are certainly up for it - this game means so much in terms of who wins the league as well as British and Irish Cup places and we want both. It could be a cracker of a game.”
 
Melrose team: Fraser  Thomson; Allan  Dodds, Bruce Dick, Cammie Murray, Joe Helps; Andrew Skeen, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Richard  Ferguson, Gary Holborn, Stuart Johnson, Ross Miller, Ross Ovens, Graham Dodds, Grant Runciman.
Replacements: Nick Beavon, Chris Keen, David Crawford, Scott McCormick, Chris Hardie.
 
Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Andy Wilson, Ross Curle, Mark Stewart (captain), Cammy Taylor; AJ McFarlane, Sylvain Diez; Gordon Sykes, Stuart Fenwick, Andy Kelly, Scott Sutherland, Colin White, Andrew Dunlop, Robbie Colhoun, John Willis.
Replacements: Hayden Wisnewski, Denford Mutamangira, Ross Doneghan, Richard Dalgleish, Ryan Holland.


Stirling County v Currie, Bridgehaugh, 3pm

Both these teams have got stronger as the season has progressed and have showcased some impressive rugby. Bridgehaugh has been a fortress in recent times for Stirling County so it’ll be no easy place for Currie to travel to on Saturday.
 
Striling County head coach, Graeme Lindsay, said: “After a disruptive two weeks the squad are excited to get back into league action.
 
“Currie are on a high after recent strong performances and will provide a stern test for our team.
 
“The results in the last league round have brought teams closer together and there is still everything to play for.” 
 
Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said:
“Stirling were on great form at the end of RBS Premier 1 and the break probably came at a time they didn’t want.
 
“They have a lot of talented young players who are gaining experience and becoming a real threat.”
 
Stirling County team: Craig Robertson; Graham Lindsay, Danny Gilmour, Brian Archibald, Ben Addison; Stuart Edwards, Dave Maw; Mike McDonald, Alex Moffat (captain), Garry Mountford, Ruaridh Leishman, Robert McAlpine, Steve Swindall, Tim Clarke, Bengy Bersanti.
Replacements: Matt Lamb, Colin Hutton, John Graham, Struan Robertson, Robbie Boswell.
 
Currie team: Barry Mansfield; Ross Neil, Douglas Fife, Andy MacMahon, Alan Whittingham;  Jamie Forbes, Richard Snedden; John Cox, Ross Merrilees, Loma Kivalu, Simon Marcell, Gary Temple, Steve Burton, Mark Cairns (captain), Ross Weston.
Replacements: Colin Phillips, Mike Erskine, Adam Best, Malcolm Peacock, Fraser Strachan.


Gala v Boroughmuir, Netherdale, 3pm

Having both lost their last league matches, Gala and Boroughmuir will be looking to redeem themselves with a win this weekend.
 
Gala head coach, George Graham, said:
We’re looking to get back on track after being derailed up at Aberdeen and after our indifferent display against Currie.
 
“We need to get our season back together this weekend although we know Boroughmuir will be tough to break.”
 
Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said:
“It will be good to get some rugby this weekend – Gala has the benefit of undersoil heating so we should be good to go on Saturday.
 
“Training has been hard in this weather – but the benefit of the 3G facility at Meggetland comes to the fore at this time of year.”
 
Gala team:
Bryce Turner; Shaun Law, Lee Millar, Alan Emond, Craig Robertson; Andy McLean, George Graham; Luke Pettie, Lewis Roden, Ewan McQuillin, Chris Weir, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Gary Lowrie, Euan Dods.
Replacements: Lewis Bertram, Steve Cairns, Craig Borthwick, Craig Dods, David Marshall.
 
Boroughmuir team:
Sep Visser; Robert Cairns, Malcolm Clapperton, Stevie Wilson, Jordan Webster; Ally Warnock, Harry Fenton; Nick Fraser, Sean Crombie, Jonny Latta, Greg Scott, Ali Davidson, Neil Rodger, Andrew Rose, Iain Moody.
Replacements: Callum Mackintosh, Robbie Wilson, Alec Henderson, Keith Buchan, Graeme Blackhall.


Aberdeen Grammar v Dundee HSFP, Rubislaw, 3pm

A month ago these two teams were the winners of the two most impressive league games. Aberdeen Grammar showed their threat in RBS Premier A bringing the high-flying Gala back down to earth with an 18-5 win at Rubislaw and Dundee HSFP showed their desire to win the league and get a place in next year’s British and Irish Cup with an epic 37-35 win over Melrose away.
 
Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said:
“We now welcome our nearest rivals to Rubislaw for this RBS Premier A encounter. Dundee are riding high and looking for a top three place and entry into the British and Irish Cup next season.
 
“This has the makings of a physical match where we hope to build on our winning performance against Gala.”
 
Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said:
Scotland under-20 commitments against Wales takes Andy Redmayne, Gavin Robertson and Jack Steele out of contention for the Aberdeen game but we’re delighted to see these young players achieve some of their goals.
 
“Aberdeen have hit a rich seam of form recently and will be encouraged by their recent win over Gala, they will also be determined to reverse the results of our two previous games this season, having lost narrowly.
 
“Aberdeen have been drawing very good crowds this season and I hope this North East derby will bring plenty supporters from both cities.”
 
Aberdeen team:
Steven Aitken; Erland Oag, Will Wardlaw, Fraser Lyle, Callum Anderson; Rob Aloe, Morgan Ward; Nicki Fraser, Matt Dixon, Richard Allen, Stuart Smith, Murray Douglas (captain), Rab Barrie, Tony McGuiness, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Graeme Carson, Callum McConnachie, Ed Nimmons, Alex Haggart, Warwick Percival.

Dundee team: Cam Wyper; Andy McLean, Robbie Lavery, Harry Duthie, Ross Lemon; Cam Brown, Andy Dymock; Neil Dymock (captain), Darrel Russell, Alan Brown, Andy Linton, Richie Hawkins, Chris Cumming, Jamie Morrison, Danny Levison.
Replacements: Callum Kerr, Simon Forrest, Ryan Milne, Richie McIvor, Colin Strachan.