A full complement of fixtures will be played in the RBS Premiership tomorrow following the first set of British & Irish Cup matches.
Ayr, Edinburgh Accies, Gala and Stirling County return to top flight action having a lot of work to do with Melrose and Heriot’s, in their absence, firmly establishing themselves in first and second place, respectively.
On that note, one of the two leaders will be pushing on as they go head-to-head at Goldenacre tomorrow.
Melrose head coach, John Dalziel, said: “Heriot’s have been the form side of late and last week’s defeat to Hawick will have only strengthened their focus for this match. We have had many epic encounters with them over the last few seasons, with some high scoring and highly entertaining matches.
“This is our second first v second encounter of the season and if the last game against Gala is anything to go by this will not be for the faint hearted. I have had the pleasure of working with Phil in the past and although his fashion sense can be a little ropy, there is no doubt he promotes a great brand of rugby and he will have his team well prepared for this match.”
For the British & Irish Cup teams, Ayr host Stirling County at Millbrae, Gala travel to Malleny Park to take-on Currie and Glasgow Hawks welcome Edinburgh Accies to Old Anniesland.
Edinburgh Accies director of rugby, Bob Easson, said: “The opportunity for a large proportion of our players to play at the level of the British & Irish Cup has been invaluable, in terms of their development.
“We can take a lot of positives from these two games, we scored five good quality tries and last week’s experience being away from home, travelling a distance and staying in a hotel is new to many in our squad.
“The challenge now is to maintain the momentum and intensity from the Cup. Despite being beaten we came up to the pace quickly and we weren’t out done in terms of fitness. So, if we can take that on to a team we played and beat earlier in the season we can get the outcome we’re looking for.”
The final fixture, in the first round of return legs in the league, takes place at Rubislaw with Aberdeen Grammar and Hawick locking horns. All matches kick-off at 3pm.
Aberdeen Grammar head coach, Kevin Wyness, said: “Hawick will be targeting this match to secure another away win and they will come full of confidence after beating Heriot’s at Goldenacre.
“Any team that boasts so many home-grown players should be commended and we look forward to the second round of battle.”
From the pro-ranks this week, Grayson Hart, James Hilterbrand (both Gala), Leone Nakarawa (Glasgow Hawks), James Eddie (Ayr), Michael Maltman, Sean Kennedy, Kevin Bryce (all Heriot’s), John Houston, Lee Jones (both Edinburgh Accies), James Johnstone, Rob McAlpine (both Hawick) and Mark Robertson (Melrose) are selected.
Heriot’s v Melrose, Goldenacre, 3pm
Heriot’s team: Colin Goudie; Max Learmonth, Keith Buchan, Cameron Ferguson, Max Nimmo; Rory Carmichael, Graham Wilson; Craig Owenson, George Turner, Nathan Borel, Murray Douglas, Russell Nimmo, Michael Maltman, Alex Henderson and Jack Turley (captain).
Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Stewart Mustard, Jason Hill, Sean Kennedy and Harry Boisseau.
Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Damien Hoyland, Andrew Skeen, Joe Helps, Austin Lockington; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce, Nick Beavon, Graeme Dodds, Stuart Johnson, Peter Eccles, Grant Runciman and Andrew Nagle
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Gary Holborn, Ross Miller, Tom Wilson and Mark Robertson.
Referee: Peter Allan
Ayr v Stirling County, Millbrae, 3pm
Ayr team: Grant Anderson (captain); Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Kerr Gossman; Finn Russell, Murray McConnell; Nick Cox, Fergus Scott, D’arcy Rae, Peter McCallum, Scott Sutherland, James Eddie, Andrew Dunlop and Callum Templeton.
Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, George Hunter, Graham Fisken, Peter Jericevich and Ross Curle.
Stirling County team: Ben Addison; Graham Lindsay, Archie Russell, Robbie Hogg, Rory Hughes; Stuart Edwards, AJ McFarlane; Jamie Bhatti, Reyner Kennedy, Colin Hutton, Ruaridh Leishman, Matt Larsen, Sean McDonald, Will Bordill and Jamie Swanson.
Replacements: Alex Moffat, Ross Murray, Struan Robertson, Steve Swindall and Joff Hope.
Referee: Gary Gordon
Currie v Gala, Malleny Park, 3pm
Currie team: Ruaridh Smith; Harvey Elms, Ethan Pollock, Adam Alexander, Callum Kerr; George Horne, Richard Snedden; John Cox, Graeme Carson, Alastair Hamilton, Gary Temple, Petre Neacsu, Mike Vernal, Mark Cairns (captain) and Ross Weston.
Replacements: Reece Patterson, Fraser Watts, Charlie McLean, Joe Stachan and Alex Penman.
Gala team: Andy McLean; Craig Robertson, Chris Auld, Ewan Scott, Grant Sommerville; Gregor Mein, Grayson Hart; Rory Sutherland, Russell Anderson, Ewan McQuillin, Craig Borthwick, Opeta Palepoi, Chris Weir, Gary Graham and Stevie Cairns.
Replacements: Callum MacKintosh, James Hilterbrand, Richard Todd, Alan Emond and Craig Dodds.
Referee: Charles Samson
Glasgow Hawks v Edinburgh Accies, Old Anniesland, 3pm
Glasgow Hawks team: James Gormley; Gavin Lowe, Ally MacLay, Jack Steele, Haddon McPherson; Mike Adamson, Dan Smart; Steven Findlay, Jack McFarlane, Brendan Cullinane, Angus Hamilton, Andy Linton, Andy Kirkland, Stephen Leckie and Ross Miller (captain).
Replacements: Calum Kerr, Zander Fagerson, Leone Nakarawa, Sean Yacoubian and Robert Beattie.
Edinburgh Accies team: Alex Blair; Nyle Godsmark, Chris Dean, Iain Berthinussen, Jamie Farndale; Ruaridh Bonner, Alex Black; Alex Allan, Michael Liness, Phil Cringle, Greg Campbell (captain), Alex Toolis, Robin Snape, Callum Reid and Hamish Watson.
Replacements: Duncan Morrison, Shaun Strudwick, Ronan Seydak, John Houston and Lee Jones.
Referee: Andrew Jackson (RFU)
Aberdeen Grammar v Hawick, Rubislaw, 3pm
Aberdeen Grammar team: Will Wardlaw; Erland Oag, Sam Ryan, Harry Duthie (captain), Peceli Nacamavuto; Mark Ryan, Morgan Ward; Matt Schosser, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford, Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe, Sam Bingham, Tony McGuiness and Tom Preece.
Replacements: Graeme Clow; Stevie Aitken, Rob Cessford, Chris Allan and Mike Cox.
Hawick team: Neil Renwick; Scott McLeod, James Johnstone, Gary Johnstone, John Coutts; Ali Weir, Jake Evans; Shawn Muir, Ross Graham, Wullie Blacklock, Rob McAlpine, Kieran Willison, Keith Davies (captain), Stuart Graham and Bruce McNeil.
Replacements: Matt Landels, Liam Launders, Nick Mctaggart, Neil McColm and Lee Armstrong.
Referee: Iain Heard