Rbs Premier A Preview: Round 5

It’s been dry and sunny for the most part of the week and if the good weather continues into the weekend we’ll be sure to be treated to some fast paced, exciting rugby in RBS Premier A.

It’s still tough at the top with the majority of the teams still able to earn a place in next season’s British and Irish Cup and no signs of anyone running away with the championship title.

The season has been competitive with many twist, turns and unexpected results and it’s anticipated that this weekend will be no different. 

So on Saturday, Boroughmuir welcome Ayr to Meggetland, Gala travel to Mayfield to take on Dundee HSFP, Currie host Aberdeen Grammar at Malleny Park and Melrose and Stirling County go head-to-head at the Greenyards in their first attempt to defend the Bill McLaren Shield.

Boroughmuir v Ayr, Meggetland, 3pm
Both teams restored confidence in their premiership campaigns two weeks ago recording wins over Aberdeen Grammar and Dundee HSFP respectively and won their Cup matches last weekend. Both teams will be looking to continue this winning streak and kick-start their ascent of the table.

Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said: “We’re back to league action this week and we wish to build on our two wins over the last two weekends. Ayr will be a hard physical game.”

Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “Meggetland is a difficult environment to go to against a Boroughmuir side who always give a good account of themselves.

“Fergus Pringle and Phil Smith are an experienced coaching team and always like to surprise us with something so we're looking forward to that. Last time Fergus played he made a real menace of himself at the breakdown.

“Our players are looking forward to the game - there has been a good buzz at training this week following last week's Cup win away to a strong Dumfries side and a huge win against Dundee the week before. The RBS Premier A fixtures have been very competitive this year and tomorrow will be no different.”

Boroughmuir team: Keith Buchan; Redha Guedroudi, Malcolm Clapperton, Mark Hare, Jordan Webster; Ally Warnock, Sam Johnson; Robbie Wilson, Sean Crombie, Nick Fraser, Greg Scott, Ali Davidson, Neil Rodger, Andrew Rose, Iain Moody.
Replacements: Callum Mackintosh, Ross Young, Alec Henderson, Harry Fenton, Stevie Wilson

Ayr team: Grant Anderson (captain); Andy Wilson, Steven Manning, Richard Dalgleish, Cammy Taylor; Robbie Fergusson, AJ McFarlane; Andy Kelly, Hayden Wisnewski, Gordon Sykes, Scott Sutherland, Colin White, John Willis, Robbie Colhoun, Andrew Dunlop.
Replacements: Denford Mutamangira, Pa Thompson, Andrew McFarlane, Ross Doneghan, Graham Fisken, Sylvain Diez, Ryan Holland.

Dundee HSFP v Gala, Mayfield, 3pm
Dundee and Gala both lost their last premiership matches but are sitting in second and third place respectively with 48 points. Dundee have the advantage with a game in hand, but the winner on Saturday will mount the pressure on Melrose at the top.

Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said: “With the odds stacked against us for many reasons in last Saturday's Cup game at Stirling it was very satisfying to hold off a very well organised County side to go through to the Caley Cup final.

“In many ways our game against Gala is another Cup final with so much at stake as we reach the business end of the league.

“Everyone is delighted to have our first home league game since November and we’re expecting a large home support.”

Gala head coach, George Graham, said: “After our win last week we can see improvement to our recent form and we hope to continue these developments.

“We’re looking forward to the trip to Dundee.”

Dundee team: Cam Wyper; Andy McLean, Harry Duthie, Colin Strachan, James Fleming; Cam Brown, Andy Dymock; Neil Dymock (captain), Simon Forrest, Alan Brown, Andy Linton, Richie Hawkins, Chris Cumming, Jamie Morrison, Danny Levison.
Replacements: Darrell Russell, Gavin Robertson, Jack Steele, Ross Lemon.

Gala team: Andy McLean; Gavin Young, Byrce Turner, Alan Emond, Craig Robertson; Lee Millar, George Graham; Luke Pettie, Russell Anderson, Ewan McQuillin, Chris Weir, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Gary Lowrie, Euan Dods.
Replacements: Paul Stewart, Steve Cairns, Craig Borthwick, Gregor Hunter, Craig Kedie.

Currie v Aberdeen Grammar, Malleny Park, 3pm
As the league draws closer to it’s climax Currie and Aberdeen Grammar will look to return to winning ways after they have both suffered defeats in their last two RBS Premier A matches. Aberdeen shocked Currie at Rubislaw early in the season, but Currie have improved their form since then. It will be a tough match where anything can happen.

Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “Despite losing three matches in a row our performances in the last two games have been very encouraging, with our strength in depth tested to the limit.

“This week there are a number of players back who will be required to take on a strong Aberdeen team who have already defeated us at Rubislaw.

“They also have a Regional Cup final next week and will want a strong performance for that.

“We look forward to playing at Malleny as always.”

Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said: “After the team’s productive run-out against a competitive Howe of Fife, where we ran in eight well constructed tries, we revert to the more challenging business of RBS Premier A rugby.

“We visited Malleny Park last season and were handed a lesson in physicality in the first half but in our first encounter at Rubislaw early on this season we came away with the points.

“We are under no illusions Currie are a big, physical side and we will need to play a smart game to have any chance.”

Currie team: Dave Smith; Barry Mansfield, Douglas Fife, Andy MacMahon, Alan Whittingham;  Jamie Forbes, Richard Snedden; John Cox, Finlay Gillies, Loma Kivalu, Simon Marcell, Gary Temple, Mark Cairns (captain), Mike Entwhistle, Ross Weston.
Replacements: Billy Elmslie, Mike Erskine, Steve Burton, Malcolm Peacock, Johnny Bruton.

Aberdeen team: Steven Aitken; Erland Oag, Will Wardlaw, Fraser Lyle, Callum Anderson; Alex Haggart, Rob Lawson; Nicki Fraser, Matt Dixon, Richard Allen, Stuart Smith, Murray Douglas (captain), Rab Barrie, Tony McGuiness, Greig Ryan.
Replacements: Graeme Carson, Sam Bingham, Ed Nimmons, Grant Walker, Morgan Ward.

Melrose v Stirling County, The Greenyards, 3pm
This will be the first week that Stirling County will travel away from home since the first round of RBS Premier A, as a result it will be a real test of the character they have built in recent weeks, and there is no harder challenge than taking on the defending champions and league leaders at home.

Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “This is another massive game against an in-form Stirling side.

“Stirling have a strong physical pack with some exciting young backs, so we know the size of our task.”

Stirling County head coach, Graeme Young, said: “After a disappointing one-point loss to Dundee in last week’s Cup round, the squad are looking to bounce back with a solid performance against the form team in the league. 

“In the last four weeks we will have played the top four league sides and it’s giving the team a great benchmark of where we are.”

Melrose team: Fraser  Thomson; Allan  Dodds, Bruce Dick, Cammie Murray, Jamie Murray; Andrew Skeen, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Richard  Ferguson, Gary Holborn, Peter Eccles, Ross Miller, Ross Ovens, Grant Runciman, Graham Dodds.
Replacements: Nick Beavon, Chris Keen, Stuart Johnson, Scott McCormick, Joe Helps.

Stirling County team: Craig Robertson; Graham Lindsay, Danny Gilmour, Brian Archibald, Matt Lamb; Stuart Edwards, Dave Maw; Mike McDonald, Alex Moffat (captain), Garry Mountford, Ruaridh Leishman, Robert McAlpine, Steve Swindall, Tim Clarke, Bengy Bersanti.
Replacements: Gregor Brodie, Jamie Bhatti, John Graham, Adam Sinclair, Robbie Boswell.