The four home-based Scottish teams competing in the B&I Cup all look for drastic improvements to be made following defeats in the competition’s first round last week. Meanwhile, Heriots look to make it eight wins in a row as they take on Hawick at Goldenacre on Saturday in the RBS Premiership.
Ayr welcome Cornish-Pirates to Millbrae on Saturday (3pm), in what promises to be an exciting encounter. After running Jersey close, in a 16-28 defeat away from home - despite being down to 13 men for almost a half - the Ayr team have shown that they are more than capable of competing in the Cup.
Ayr are fully aware of the intensity and ability of their travelling opposition- especially after they put Ulster Ravens to the sword with a 34-17 win in last week’s first round - however, they are confident for this weekend.
Glen Tippett, Ayr forwards coach, said: “Despite last week’s loss, we got a lot out the game, the boys worked extremely hard against a quality Jersey side, and played an excellent, attacking brand of rugby.
“We were proud of the boys, they showed a lot of spirit and hunger, in proving that we are a class side.
“Looking forward to this week, we’ve made some changes with James Eddie (pictured above) coming back in to the side, someone who brings a lot of experience and a great attitude which helps to inspire the boys.
“Also, Peter McCallum is rewarded with a start. We feel we have a great depth in our squad this year and we’re trying to give as many players as possible the opportunity to play in the B&I Cup.”
Also at home this week are Stirling County, who host Plymouth Albion at Bridgehaugh (3pm). Gala take to the road, as they cross the border to face Leeds-Carnegie, on Sunday at 2.30pm.
Edinburgh Accies, also travel south, as they meet London-Scottish in Richmond tomorrow (3pm KO).
Despite a heavy home defeat to Pontypridd last week, in their first ever B&I Cup game, Accies are more than up for any challenge the London side may pose.
Coach Jonny Else said, “After a rude awakening in the opening minutes last week, we grew into the game and showed that we are capable of competing at this level.
“We have learned greatly from last week’s game, namely how clinical teams are at this level. This time around, we must ensure that we stay focused in every facet of the game, and do not back off this talented London Scottish side."
In round nine of the RBS Premiership, Heriots are looking for their eighth win in a row, as they host seventh place Hawick, who come off the back of a good win against Currie last week.
Heriots coach, Phil Smith, said, “Whilst winning at the moment, we continually strive to improve, something which the team must do, in order to continue on our undefeated run.
“We do believe we are still to put our full game together, however we also know that each opposition team are of a quality to make this extremely difficult. This includes Hawick, who are proving to be formidable opponents on their return to the Premiership.”
From the pro-ranks this week, turning out for the clubs, are James Eddie (Ayr), James Hilterbrand, Grayson Hart (both Gala), Alex Black (Edinburgh Accies), Henry Pyrgos, Tom Ryder (both Stirling County), Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown (both Aberdeen Grammar), Kevin Bryce (Heriots), Robert McAlpine, Nikki Walker (both Hawick) and Scott Wight (Glasgow Hawks).
On Sunday, in the women’s RBS Premier League Hillhead/Jordanhill host Watsonians, Stirling County welcome Melrose to Bridgehaugh and Murrayfield Wanderers meet RHC Cougars in the Edinburgh derby.
RBS Premiership fixtures
Currie v Melrose, Malleny Park, 3pm
Currie: Ruaridh Smith; Harvey Elms, Ethan Pollock, Adam Alexander, Alex Penman; George Horne, Richard Snedden; John Cox, Joe Roe, Alastair Hamilton, Gary Temple, Petre Neascu, Mike Vernal, Mark Cairns (captain) and Ross Weston.
Replacements: Graeme Carson, Fraser Watts, Charlie McLean, Jack Broadley and Callum Kerr.
Melrose: Austin Lockington; Damien Hoyland, Andrew Skeen, Joe Helps, Callum Anderson; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce, Gary Holborn, Graeme Dodds, Stuart Johnstone, Peter Eccles, Grant Runciman and Andrew Nagle.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Nick Beavon, Ross Ovens, Ross Miller, and Tom Wilson.
Referee: Cammy Rudkin
Aberdeen Grammar v Glasgow Hawks, Rubislaw, 3pm
Aberdeen Grammar Rugby: Angus Rennie; Erland Oag, Will Wardlaw, Harry Duthie (captain), Peceli Nacamavuto; Graeme Clow, Morgan Ward; Gordon Reid, Sean O’Connor, Matt Schosser, Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe, Fraser Brown, Tony McGinness and Tom Preece. Replacements: Mike Cox, Sandy Warnock, Rob Cessford, Sam Knudson and Sam Ryan.
Glasgow Hawks: James Gormley; Ally Maclay, Robert Beattie, Jack Steele, Haddon McPherson; Scott Wight, Sean Yacoubian; Steven Findlay, Jack Macfarlane, Brendan Cullinane, Andrew Linton, Angus Hamilton, Andrew Kirkland, Stephen Leckey and Ross Miller (captain). Replacements: Callum Kerr, Craig Bachurzewski, Mat Bartoszek, Dan Smart and Andy White.
Referee: Kevin White
Heriots v Hawick, Goldenacre, 3pm
Heriots: Keith Buchan; Liam Steele, Max Learmonth, Cameron Fraser, Harry Boisseau; Max Nimmo, Graham Wilson; Craig Owenson, George Turner, Nathan Borrell, Murray Douglas, Russell Nimmo, Chris Mulligan, Alex Henderson and Jason Hill. Replacements: Stewart Mustard, Kevin Bryce, Jack Turley (captain), OJ Brown and Colin Goudie.
Hawick: Neil Renwick; Scott McLeod, Lee Armstrong, Gary Johnstone, John Coutts; Ally Weir, Jake Evens; Shawn Muir, Lindsay Gibson, Wullie Blacklock, Rob McAlpine, Kieran Willison, Nick MacTaggart, Stuart Graham and BruceMcNeil. Replacements: Ross Graham, Liam Launders, Keith Davies, Neil McColm and Steven Anderson.
Referee: Charles Samson
British and Irish Cup fixtures
Ayr v Cornish Pirates, Millbrae, 3pm
Ayr: Grant Anderson(captain); Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Richard Dalgleish; Ross Curle, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, David Young, George Hunter, Graham Williamson, Scott Sutherland, James Eddie, Peter McCallum and Callum Templeton.
Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, Nick Cox, D’Arcy Rae, Graham Fisken, Murray McConnell, Kerr Gossman and Danny McCluskey
Cornish Pirates: C. Holland; M. Pope, A. Dancer, T. Hendrickson, M. Evans; A. Sinclair, G. Cattle (captain); J. Conlon, A. Cheesman, J. Parker, N. Patrick, W. Graulich, B. Prescott, A. Carpenter and K. Davies.
Replacements: : T. Channon, S. Cahill, P. Joyce, D. Barry, J. Atkinson, K. Hallett and K. Goss.
London Scottish v Edinburgh Accies, Richmond Athletic Ground, 3pm
London Scottish: Jim Thompson; James Love, Oli Grove, Andy Reay, Peter Homan; Dan Newton, Jamie Stevenson; Mark Irish, Lewis Calder, Eric Fry, Paul Spivey, Tyler Hotson, Ben Russell, Tommy Spinks and Mark Bright (captain).
Replacements: Ted Stagg, Nick Mayhew, Tomas Francis, Matt Everard, Mike Doneghan, Ben Pattenden and PJ Gidlow.
Edinburgh Accies: Jamie Sole; Nyle Godsmark, Chris Dean, Iain Berthinussen, Jamie Farndale; Ruairidh Bonner, Alex Black; Alex Allan, Michael Liness, Phil Cringle, Greg Campbell (captain), Jamie McCarthy, Robin Snape, Hamish Watson and Callum Reid.
Replacements: Duncan Morrison, Shaun Strudwick, Alex Toolis, Tom Stuart, Mike Campbell, Stuart Evans and Sam Pecqueur.
Stirling County v Plymouth Albion, Bridgehaugh, 3pm
Stirling County: Ben Addison; Graham Lindsay, Archie Rusell, Robbie Hogg, Rory Hughes; Stuart Edwards, AJ McFarlane; Kris Burney, Reyner Kennedy, Colin Hutton, Matt Larsen, Tom Ryder, Struan Robertson, Will Bordill and Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Alex Moffat, Jamie Bhatti, Sean McDonald, Jamie Swanson, Ruaridh Leishman, Joff Hope and Henry Pyrgos.
Plymouth Albion: L Messer; L Warner, H Stevens, T Howley-Berridge, J Arnott; D Cusack, R Cushion (captain); B Rogers, M Crumpton, D Morton, I Ascroft-Leigh, D Williams, E Grace, S Matavesi and H Stupple
Replacements: D McGregor, T Harrison, H Tovey, W Carrick-Smith, D Mugford, P Rowley, C Elder
Gala v Leeds Carnegie, Headingley, Sunday 2.30pm
Gala : Graeme Speirs; Craig Robertson, Chris Auld, Alan Emond, Grant Somerville; Gregor Mein, George Graham (captain); Rory Sutherland, Callum Mackintosh, James Hilterbrand, Chris Weir, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Stevie Cairns and Tom Weir.
Replacements: Russell Anderson, Lewis Bertram, Craig Borthwick, Richard Todd, Grayson Hart, Ewan Scott and Andy McLean.
Leeds Carnegie: Stevie McColl; Robbie Martey, Pete Lucock, Fred Burdon, David Doherty; Glyn Hughes, Craig Hampson; Lee Imiolek, Jack Walker, Charlie Beech, Nathan Hannay, Matt Smith, Jacob Rowan (captain), James Doyle and Ryan Burrows.
Replacements: Phil Nilsen, Ben Harris, Damien Tussac, Shaun Jones, Chris Walker, Joe Barker and Alex Lozowski.