RBS Premier Division Preview: Round Six

This Saturday, in the RBS Premier Division there are three ties in the capital, one in the north and one in the west.

Edinburgh Accies, finally recorded their first win last weekend against, local rivals Heriot’s, and will look to keep-up momentum tomorrow when they host Dundee HSFP at Raeburn Place.

Elsewhere in Edinburgh, Currie welcome Gala to Malleny Park and Stirling County travel to Meggetland to take on Boroughmuir.

League leaders Ayr play host to Heriot’s at Millbrae and Aberdeen Grammar will desperately seek out their first win of the season with a home tie against Melrose.

Edinburgh Accies v Dundee HSFP, Raeburn Place, 3pm

Sitting eighth and seventh in the table respectively both teams will want to get back to winning ways tomorrow and hopefully jump back into the top-half of the table.  Accies have the Bill McLaren Shield and will work hard to defend it for the first time.

Edinburgh Accies head coach, Simon Cross, said: “It was a case of ridiculous to sublime last week in the ultimate ‘game of two halves’.

“We’re still looking for that 80 minutes performance and know that whatever team Dundee put together, they are well coached and will pose a physical challenge.

“On Saturday we’re looking forward to defending the Bill McLaren Shield at Raeburn Place.”

Dundee HSFP head coach, Ian Rankin, said: “Simon Cross and his team will be buoyed with their excellent comeback to win in the last minute against Heriot’s last week which had been on the cards for a few weeks. They will prove to be a stern challenge.

We’re undoubtedly in a corner and will go into this game as underdogs, but look forward to seeing how we react to a bit of adversity.

Edinburgh Accies team: Josh Pecqueur; Jamie Farndale, Ewen Campbell, Iain Berthinussen, Niall Godsmark; Ruaridh Bonner, Alex Black; Kenny Blyth, Michael Liness, Alex Allan, Greg Campbell, Tom Drennan, Dan Teague (captain), Hamish Watson, Callum Reid. 
Replacements: Fraser Rawlinson, Chris Murray, Andrew Findlater, Johnny Adams, Ruaridh Young.

Dundee HSFP team: Jamie Urqurhart; Andy McLean, Stewart Walker, Harry Duthie, Jack Steele; Brandyn Laursen, Andy Dymock; Steven Longwell, Darell Russell, Gav Robertson, Chris Cumming, Richie Hawkins, Richie McIvor, Iain Wilson.
 Replacements: Dave Currie, Poloc Islam, Andy Linton, Andy Redmayne, Rory Taylor.

Currie v Gala, Malleny Park, 3pm

Currie and Gala both have had successive victories over the past fortnight and are neighbours, at third and second, in the table. This sets the scene for a very competitive match tomorrow. Glasgow Warriors EDP Jonny Gray could return to competitive action off the bench for Currie.

Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “This is the most competitive Premiership I can remember and every week is a massive challenge.

“Gala have a real depth to their squad and are potentially boosted by Edinburgh Rugby’s James King. They have started the season very positively and we look forward to the match.”

Gala head coach, George Graham, said: “The game against Currie is shaping up to be a very important one, both teams are very closely matched in terms of points and have everything to play for.

“We have brought into our side our new recruit from Zimbabwe, Gerald Sibanda. Gerald is a current Zimbabwean 7s player and has impressed well since his arrival. He is an exciting and fast player and I’m looking forward to watching him play at this level.

“Last year’s game was a very tight affair and I don’t think this one will be any different, we know Currie are a well-drilled outfit and have some exciting backs. They like to run at teams at any opportunity and are a very good attacking side, so our defence will have to be ready for anything on Saturday.”

Currie team: Jamie Forbes; Adam Hinds, James Johnstone, Simeon James, Alan Whittingham; Andrew Binikos, Richard Snedden; John Cox, Ross Merrilees, Alastair Hamilton, Gary Temple, Simon Marcell, Mark Cairns (captain), Mike Entwhistle, Ross Weston. Replacements: Fergus Scott, Fraser Watt, Jonny Gray, Malcolm Peacock, A N Other.

Gala team: Andy McLean; Gerald Sibanda, Chris Auld, Craig Borthwick, Craig Robertson; Lee Millar, George Graham; Luke Pettie, Callum McIntosh, Ewan McQuillin, Opeta Palepoi, Chris Weir, Gary Graham, Graham Bryce, Euan Dods.
 Replacements: Russell Anderson, Stevie Cairns, Craig Keddie Grant Sommerville, James King.

Ayr v Heriot’s, Millbrae, 3pm

Ayr are still the only unbeaten team in the league and Heriot’s were back on form in recent weeks, but failed to hold-off a second-half resurgence from Edinburgh Accies last weekend. However, anything can happen in the top division, therefore this game is sure to be very competitive and entertaining.

Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “Last week’s win at the Greenyards was a huge achievement for the squad. We knew that Melrose would be desperate not to lose another game at home as it would be a massive dent to their title hopes, but the boys put in a huge shift to maintain their winning record.

“Although we scored three tries we were disappointed that we didn’t get a bonus point. The key to our success last week was our defence with Melrose unable to score a try – something you don’t see very often at the Greenyards.

“We welcome Heriot’s to Ayr this week and realise that they are capable of beating the best on the road, as they proved against Melrose. We expect a very fast and expansive game and our defence will have to match the ambition and pace of the Heriot’s attack.”

Heriot’s head coach, Phil Smith, said: “Last week was disappointing but fair play to Accies for laying siege in the second half and not letting the heads go down.

“A trip to Ayr means there is no time for the team to feel sorry for themselves and hopefully we can build on last week’s first half performance.”

Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Richard Dalgleish, Kerr Gossman; Ross Curle, Peter Jericevich; Nick Cox, Hayden Wisnewski, George Hunter, Colin White, Scott Sutherland, Graham Fisken, Andrew Dunlop, Calum Forrester (captain). Replacements: Denford Mutamangira, Shingai Mpofu, Stuart Fenwick, Ross Doneghan, Gavin Lowe.

Heriot’s team: Mike Penn; Marc Teague, Max Learmouth, Rory Carmichael, Colin Goudie; Graham Wilson (captain), Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Gavin Cameron, Kevin Bryce, JP Ward, Russell Nimmo, Struan Cessford, Jack Turley, Fraser Brown, Jason Hill. Replacements: Craig Owenson, Chris Mulligan, Joe Smith, Andy Scott, CJ Brown.

Boroughmuir v Stirling County, Meggetland, 3pm

Boroughmuir for the most part of the season, so far, have only just missed out on a few victories and sit bottom of the table. Stirling County as well, are yet to have a consistent run having one two, drawn won and lost two. But who’ll turn around their season first?

Boroughmuir head coach, Fergus Pringle, said: “Another big game for us, it is as simple as that!”

Stirling County head coach, Graeme Young, said: “After last week’s cricket match in the sunshine, albeit entertaining, we have worked hard this week to continue to improve our game.  It will be another tough match against Fergus and his men, who will be desperate to win.”

Boroughmuir team: Keith Buchan, Jordan Webster, Malcolm Clapperton, Mark Hare; Damian Hoyland; Ali Warnock, Andy Watt; Robin Hislop, George Turner, Jonny Latta, Will Kay, Ali Davidson, Ali MacLeod, Alex Henderson, Jamie Swanson. Replacements: Greg Jones, Robbie Wilson, Neil Rodger, Sam Johnson, David Reekie.

Stirling County team: Joff Hope; Graham Lindsay, Danny Gilmour, Robbie Hogg, Matt Lamb; Stuart Edwards, Stevie Gillies; Collin Hutton, Alex Moffat, Gary Mountford, Ruaridh Leishman, Craig Deacons, Struan Robertson, Robbie Boswell, Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Stevie Raby, Reynor Kennedy, Sean MacDonald, Bengi Barsanti, Dave Maw.

Aberdeen Grammar v Melrose, Rubislaw, 3pm

Aberdeen Grammar are yet to win a game this season, but despite Melrose losing two ties already in the opening weeks the challenge intensifies as they take on the defending champions, even at home.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Alex Duncan, said: “Melrose have been the benchmark team in the top flight for many seasons and are always formidable opponents.

“We’re under no illusions that their current form is a mere blip and they will have set their targets firmly on a bounce back performance to retain their momentum in this campaign.

“Our squad has shown great character in addressing the recent setbacks, particularly with the cruel last kick outcomes from recent games. This character and fortitude will be severely tested on Saturday and the players are clearly focused on the job in hand.”

Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “After a disappointing result against Ayr last weekend we must bounce back this week.

“Aberdeen have quite a few new players and have strength up front and size and pace behind a formidable pack.

“Last week we created plenty of space and opportunities against Ayr, but were not accurate in our execution. We must also make it much harder for the opposition to score, unlike last week when we gifted Ayr three tries from our poor game management, lack of concentration and communication.”

Aberdeen Grammar team: Steven Aitken; Erland Oag, Peceli Nacavumato, James Knight, Ade Hales; Alex Hagart, Morgan Ward; Nicki Fraser, Sean O’Connor, Stuart Corsar (captain), Stuart Smith, Murray Douglas, Matt Reid, Tony McGuiness, Cam Eyre. Replacements: Sam Bingham, Callum McConnachie, Greig Ryan, Mark Ryan, Jamie Lauder.

Melrose team: Sam Chalmers; Greg White, Nick McGrath, Joe Helps, Jamie Murray; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Richard Ferguson, Gary Holborn, Ross Ovens, Ross Miller, John Dalziel, Grant Runciman, Andrew Nagle. Replacements: W Mitchell, C Arthur, S Johnston, S McCormick, L Mallin.