This weekend sees a break in RBS Premiership action, yet a welcome return for the British and Irish Cup and RBS Regional Cup.
Gala, Ayr, Stirling County and Edinburgh Accies will all be playing in their third tie of British and Irish Cup this weekend, with all looking to record their first win in the competition this year.
This week sees an influx of professional players returning to domestic duties, no side more heavily boosted than Ayr, who welcome six Glasgow Warrior players to their ranks – not including Elite Development Players (EDP). The Millbrae side host Ulster Ravens at Millbrae in a 2.30pm kick-off.
Ayr head coach, Peter Laverie, said: “Our squad is boosted this weekend with the release of a number of Glasgow Warriors players.
“One of Ayr’s favourite sons, Gordon Reid, returns to his old stomping ground while we also have the services of James Eddie who has featured this season already. The club is also delighted to welcome Finlay Gillies, Byron McGuigan and Scott Wight to Millbrae.
“The Cup games brings great benefit to the boys competing, as they are able to truly test themselves against professional teams who will look to play at a high tempo and with great physicality.”
Also at home in the British and Irish Cup, Stirling County host Nottingham at Bridgehaugh in a 3pm kick-off. Neither of the sides have recorded a win, with a losing bonus point for Nottingham bridging the small gap between the two.
Edinburgh Accies take their second trip down to London this year, as they take on the Greene King IPA Championship league leaders, London Welsh (2pm kick-off). The clash of the capitals will see one of the teams post their first win in the Cup as London Welsh only sit above Accies with two losing bonus points.
Edinburgh Accies head coach, Jonny Else, said:
“We have learnt a lot after the first round of B&I Cup games and we are looking to continue to improve our performances and compete at this level.
“We have a good mix of youth and experience in our squad this weekend and I am looking forward to seeing how we respond to the challenge that London Welsh will present.
“We are determined to play our brand of rugby and are focusing on putting in a performance that we are all proud of.”
Also on the road, Gala travel south to play Bristol tonight (7.45pm kick-off). The teams sit at opposite ends of the pool, Bristol two from two and Gala yet to pick up a point. Following their 85-10 defeat to Leeds Carnegie in the last round of the Cup, Gala will be looking to prove themselves in this tie and pick up some vital points.
Professional players turning out for club sides this week are: Lewis Niven, Stuart McInally, Robert McAlpine (all Edinburgh Accies), D’arcy Rae, Gordon Reid, Byron McGuigan, Finlay Gillies, James Eddie, Scott Wight (all Ayr)and Henry Pyrgos (Stirling County).
Ayr v Ulster Ravens, Millbrae, Saturday 7 December, 2.30pm
Ayr team: Grant Anderson (captain); Richard Dalgleish, Ross Curle, Robbie Fergusson, Byron McGuigan; Finn Russell, Murray McConnell; George Hunter, Fergus Scott, D’arcy Rae, Callum Templeton, Scott Sutherland, James Eddie, Andrew Dunlop and Peter McCallum.
Replacements: Finlay Gillies, Gordon Reid, Nick Cox, Graham Williamson, Peter Jericevich, Scott Wight and Kerr Gossman.
London-Welsh v Edinburgh Accies, Kassam Stadium, Oxford, Saturday 7 December, 2pm
Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Jamie Farndale, Ewen Campbell, Iain Bethinussen, Nyle Godsmark; Iain Chisholm, Alex Black; Phil Cringle, Michael Liness, Lewis Niven, Robert McAlpine, Alex Toolis, Greg Campbell (captain), Hamish Watson and Callum Reid.
Replacements: Alex Allan, Stuart McInally, Shaun Strudwick, Declan Dinnan, Ronan Seydak, Mike Campbell and Sam Pecqueur.
Stirling County v Nottingham, Bridgehaugh, Saturday 7 December, 3pm
Stirling County team: Ben Addison; Graham Lindsay, Danny Gilmour, Fraser Lyle, Rory Hughes; Stuart Edwards, Henry Pyrgos; Jamie Bhatti, Alex Moffat, Colin Hutton, Ruaridh Leishman, Matt Larsen, Struan Robertson, Will Bordill and Jamie Swanson.
Replacements: Reyner Kennedy, Kris Burney, Ross Murray, Shaun McDonald, Andy Watt, Joff Hope and Matt Lamb.
Gala v Bristol Rugby, Memorial Stadium, Bristol, Friday 6 December, 7.45pm
Gala team: TBC
RBS Regional Cup fixtures
RBS Border Regional Cup
RBS Caledonia Regional Cup
RBS Edinburgh Regional Cup
RBS West Regional Cup