An epic 24 hours of rugby action is on the cards for sports fans in Edinburgh this weekend. Friday night sees reigning Scottish champions Melrose face Boroughmuir in their final match in RBS Premier A and a bonus point victory for the Borderers will ensure they retain their title.
Then on Saturday afternoon at Murrayfield it’s the biggest match to date in Scottish club rugby history as Edinburgh Rugby take on the four-time former champions Toulouse in the quarter-final of the Heineken Cup. We spoke with James King, the Edinburgh centre, who has played for Melrose earlier in his career, to take the temperature on matches that are capturing the public’s imagination.
King, 26, who is currently recovering from a groin operation, admitted there were frustrations on a personal level as he is not in contention for the Edinburgh team as yet.
“It’s about seven weeks since I had surgery and I’m back into running now so hope to be involved with the team before the end of the season in both league and cup,” he explained.
“Saturday is going to be huge for Edinburgh and it’s fantastic to see how the tie has really got supporters excited.
“As far as Friday night and Melrose are concerned, they have a good mix now, similar to Edinburgh. They have strengthened their forward pack – Gary Holborn has made a difference at prop – and they have a lot of good rugby players, 1-15.
“John Dalziel makes such a difference in terms of his leadership and he’s already a good coach.
“In the backs Fraser Thomson is a quality player. I’d like to see Fraser at a higher level. He’s a raw talent who can beat boys for fun and I’d love to see how he would cope if he stepped up.
“I’ll be going along to Meggetland tomorrow. Even from a neutral perspective it should be a good game as both teams like to play.
“From my point of view I’ll be keen to see Melrose win the match with a try scoring bonus point as that will guarantee that they lift the title again. Getting back-to-back wins would underline that last season’s success was no one-off,” he added.
If Melrose do not secure the league title on Friday night the attention will switch to Dundee HSFP's match against Stirling County at Mayfield on Saturday at 3pm, where, if Dundee HSFP gain two more league points than Melrose achieved the previous night, they will be RBS Premier 1 Champions. Should Dundee HSFP gain one more point than Melrose achieved the previous night then the two teams will be level on league points, and points difference will determine the league champions. Currently Melrose have a points difference of +127 and Dundee HSFP +85. Should the teams finish level on points difference then the next criterion would be the aggregate score in the league matches between the tied teams - and Dundee HSFP hold the advantage there.
A reminder again, then, of the two big matches for Capital rugby fans:
Tomorrow (Friday 6 April): RBS Premier A – Boroughmuir v Melrose, Meggetland, kick-off 7.30pm. Admission is £10 with concessions at £8.
The teams: Boroughmuir: Keith Buchan; Redha Guedroudj, Malcolm Clapperton, Stevie Wilson, Sep Visser; Ally Warnock, Sam Johnson; Nick Fraser, Greg Jones, Jonny Latta, Greg Scott, Ali Davidson, Neil Rodger, Alex Henderson and Jamie Swanson. Subs: Callum Mackintosh, Robbie Wilson, Will Kay, Andy Watt and Jordan Webster.
Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Allan Dodds, Bruce Dick, Cameron Murray, Joe Helps; Andrew Skeen, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Richard Ferguson, Nick Beavon, Peter Eccles, Ross Miller, Ross Ovens, Grant Runciman and Graham Dodds. Subs: Gary Holborn, Chris Keen, Stuart Johnston, Scott McCormick and Scott Wight.
Saturday 7 April: Heineken Cup quarter-final – Edinburgh Rugby v Toulouse, Murrayfield Stadium, kick-off 3pm. Tickets can be bought now through clicking on the following link: https://www.eticketing.co.uk/scottishrugby/details/event.aspx?itemref=2601. Today (Thursday) until midnight is you last chance to enjoy ticketing discounts.