Three national leagues teams could start their 2014 on a high tomorrow, with two RBS Regional Cup finals taking place and a possibility of the RBS Border Regional Cup, league structure reaching its conclusion.
In the Edinburgh Regional Cup it’ll be either Currie or Heriot’s who’ll come away with the trophy and secure their place in the national competition, when they meet at Malleny Park at 3pm.
Along the M8 RBS National League side GHA, are still in contention for a place in the national semi-finals when they meet Glasgow Hawks at Old Anniesland at 3pm.
Finally, Melrose need a single point to win the RBS Border Regional Cup. They play Peebles at The Greenyards at 2pm. However, Hawick could steal the plaudits if they beat Selkirk with five points and overcome a 65 points differential with Melrose.
The RBS Caledonia Regional Cup will conclude on Saturday 18 January, weather permitting.
Round five of the British & Irish Cup will also take place this weekend, starting tonight, when Stirling County take on English Championship side, Plymouth Albion, at Brickfields Recreation Ground (7.45pm).
Stirling County outside centre, Richie Vernon, said: “It’s good to get a chance to play against an English Championship side like Plymouth. All the boys are psyched for the game and love the opportunity to travel and experience the higher level of rugby.
For me I’m relishing the chance of game time, the more I can get the better. I’ve enjoyed playing at outside centre. It has been a big change and a really good one and I’ve noticed a big difference in the emphasis of training and in matches.
“We’re all looking forward to the challenge tonight and are hoping we can make the most of it.”
At home this weekend in the cross border tournament are Edinburgh Accies and Gala. Firstly, Accies host London Scottish (2pm) at Raeburn Place, in the hope of turning round the result from the first leg, with the home advantage on their side this time. At 3pm Gala then welcome Leeds Carnegie to Netherdale.
Edinburgh Accies head coach, Jonny Else, said: “We welcome back three injured players in Iain Berthinussen, Alex Black and Alex Blair and a host of Edinburgh Rugby professionals come into the pack for tomorrow’s game.
We’re expecting a tough and physical game against a London Scottish team that will look to counter-attack through their exciting back three. Their powerful pack will also put us under pressure, so we must match them physically while looking to play with ball in hand when in the right areas of the pitch.”
Finally, on Sunday Ayr conclude the programme, as they meet Cornish Pirates in search of a second win in the competition. They will lock-horns at Mennaye Field in Penzance at 3pm.
Players selected from the pro-player draft this weekend are Richie Vernon, Sean Kennedy (both Stirling County), Mark Bennett, Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown (all Ayr), Alex Black, Stuart McInally, Lewis Niven, Robert McAlpine, Mike Coman, Ross Rennie and Alex Toolis (all Edinburgh Accies), Sam Beard, Nikki Walker, James Hilterbrand, Ben Toolis, Sean Cox and Harry Leonard (all Gala).
British & Irish Cup
Plymouth Albion v Stirling County, Brickfields Recreation Ground, 7.45pm (Friday)
Stirling County team: Craig Robertson; Graham Lindsay, Richie Vernon, Jack Urquhart, Rory Hughes; Brian Archibald, Sean Kennedy; Kris Burney, Reyner Kennedy, Gary Mountford, Craig Deacons, Euan Dewar, Struan Robertson, Will Bordill and Jamie Swanson.
Replacements: Jamie Bhatti, Ross Murray, Shaun McDonald, Steve Swindall, Archie Russell, Andy Watt and Angus Leishman.
Edinburgh Accies v London Scottish, Raeburn Place, 2pm (Saturday)
Edinburgh Accies team: Nyle Godsmark; Sam Pecqueur, Ewen Campbell, Ruaridh Bonner, Jamie Farndale; Iain Chisholm, Alex Black; Alex Allan, Stuart McInally, Lewis Niven, Greg Campbell (captain), Robert McAlpine, Hamish Watson, Ross Rennie and Mike Coman.
Replacements: Michael Liness, Phil Cringle, Alex Toolis, Callum Reid, Alex Blair, Iain Berthinussen and Matthew Coupar.
London Scottish team: James Love; Michael Doneghan, Oli Grove, PJ Gidlow, Pete Homan; Lee Millar, Robbie Shaw; Mark Irish, Tom Dunn, Tom Francis, Paul Spivey, Alex Karonias, Chevvy Pennycook, Matt Everard and Mark Bright (captain).
Replacements: Jamie Kilbane, Adam Kwaznicki, Lewis Thiede, Tyler Hotson, Jordi Pasqualin, Dan Newton and Miles Mantella.
Gala v Leeds Carnegie, Netherdale, 3pm (Saturday)
Gala team: Craig Dods; Gerald Sibanda, Chris Auld, Sam Beard, Nikki Walker; Gregor Mein, George Graham; Rory Sutherland, James Hilterbrand, Ewan McQuillin, Craig Borthwick, Ben Toolis, Gary Graham, Stevie Cairns and Sean Cox
Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Callum McKintosh, Opeta Palepoi, Scott Chapman, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Harry Leonard and Graham Speirs.
Cornish Pirates v Ayr, Mennaye Field, 3pm (Saturday)
Ayr team: Robbie Fergusson; Craig Gossman, Mark Bennett, Dean Kelbrick (captain), Kerr Gossman; Finn Russell, Murray McConnell; Gordon Reid, Fergus Scott, Nick Cox, Craig Brown, Callum Templeton, Andrew Dunlop, Fraser Brown and Peter McCallum.
Replacements: George Hunter, D’arcy Rae, Stewart Walker, Ben Johnston, Peter Jericevich, Sylvain Diez and Danny McCluskey.
RBS Regional Cups
Currie v Heriot’s, Malleny Park, 2pm (Saturday), RBS Edinburgh Regional Cup final
Currie team: George Horne; Harvey Elms, Ruaridh Smith, Adam Alexander, Ethan Pollock; James Semple, Richard Snedden; John Cox, David Cherry, Alastair Hamilton, Gary Temple, Petre Neacsu, Mike Vernal, Mark Cairns (captain) and Ross Weston.
Replacements: Joe Roe, Graeme Carson, Charlie McLean, Karl Main and Malcolm Peacock.
Heriot’s team: Keith Buchan; Max Nimmo, Cameron Ferguson, Rory Carmichael, Harry Boisseau; OJ Brown, Graham Wilson; Appela Vuki, George Turner, Stewart Mustard, Murray Douglas, Russell Nimmo, Chris Mulligan, Alex Henderson and Jack Turley (captain).
Replacements: Nathan Borel, Ken MacKenzie, Robbie Tait, Jamie Syme and Colin Goudie.
Glasgow Hawks v GHA, Old Anniesland, 3pm (Saturday), RBS West Regional Cup final
Glasgow Hawks team: Andy White; Haddon McPherson, Ally MacLay, David Milne, Paul Ramsay; Michael Martin, Dan Smart; Steven Findlay, Jack McFarlane, Craig Bachuerzewski, Andy Linton, Rory McKay, Andy Redmayne, Stephen Leckie and Andrew Kirkland.
Replacements: Callum Kerr, Zander Ferguson, Kenneth Beattie, Jack Steele and Robert Beattie.
GHA team: Scott Lang; Rangi Jericevich, Hefin O’Hare, Andrew Henderson (captain), Chris Binnie; Niall Cassie, Murray Houston; Jack White, James Malcolm, Scott Gallagher, Ryan Jenkins, Jamie Auld, Paul Harkins, Donald Malcolm and Alan Auld.
Replacements: Michael Fox, Glen King, Declan Larkin, Dominic Dunn and James Couper
Melrose v Peebles, The Greenyards, 2pm (Saturday), RBS Border Regional Cup
Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Callum Anderson, Allan Dodds, Joe Helps, Austin Lockington; Richard Mill, Tom Wilson; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce, Gary Holborn, James Head, Lewis Carmichael, Peter Eccles, Ruaridh Knott and Andrew Nagle.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Ross Miller, Ross Ovens, Andrew Skeen and Richard Taylor.
Peebles team: Greg Raeburn; Dylan Mundy, Callum Scott, Dale Clancy (captain), Conor Blyth; Donald Anderson, Scott McCormick; Ben Glasgow, Matt Carryer, Andrew Brown, Ross Brown, Jonathan Swiatek, Richard Harrison, Kieran Brown and Warren Kearney.
Replacements: Jamie Menzies, Kenneth Clyde, Dalton Hall, Liam Fraser and Allan Smellie.
Hawick v Selkirk, Mansfield Park, 3pm (Saturday), RBS Border Regional Cup
Hawick team: Neil Renwick; Neil McColm, John Coutts, Lee Armstrong, Greg Anderson; Greg Cottrell (captain), Jake Evens; Liam Launders, Lindsay Gibson, Matt Landels, Kieran Willison, Bruce McNeil, Nick Mactaggart, Rory Scott and Keith Davies.
Replacements: Ross Graham, Shawn Muir, Wullie Blacklock, Stuart Graham and Steven Anderson.
Selkirk team: TBC