The national RBS Cup competition gets underway tomorrow with the quarter-final action taking place.
Current RBS Premiership league leaders, Melrose, host Heriot’s at the Greenyards (2.30pm), in what will be an RBS Cup and Bill McLaren Shield double-header. The two sides have already met twice this season on league duties, both claiming a home victory apiece.
The Border side will also be defending the Bill McLaren Shield for the second time, following their first successful defence earlier this month when they were 9-3 victors over Stirling County.
Melrose head coach, John Dalziel, said: “The Cup is a welcome break from the intensity of the league but it comes with huge pressure in terms of winning.
“Games between the two teams have traditionally been open, high-scoring affairs, with both sides intent on playing a similar style of rugby.
“We know the conditions are set to be tricky, but the players have prepared very well over the last few weeks and we are extremely determined to continue our recent winning form.”
Defending champions, Ayr, welcome Glasgow Hawks to Millbrae, in an all-west showdown (2.30pm).
Ayr head coach, Peter Laverie, said: “We’re back on Cup duty against none other than our local rivals, Hawks, which always makes for a tough encounter, one the players will no doubt be up for.
“There are battles in a number of key positions, intensified by the fact the boys all know each other on a personal level.”
In the other quarter-finals, Edinburgh Accies host Aberdeen Grammar Rugby at Raeburn Place (2.30pm) and Stirling County travel to the Borders to play Gala at Netherdale (3pm).
Turning out for the professional teams this week are Lewis Niven (Melrose), Kevin Bryce (Heriot’s), Aleki Lutui, Alex Toolis, Hamish Watson ( all Edinburgh Accies), Finlay Gillies and Mike Cusack (both Glasgow Hawks).
Melrose v Heriot’s, The Greenyards, 2.30pm
Melrose team: Austin Lockington; Callum Anderson, Blair Hutchison, Joe Helps, Alan Dodds; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine (captain); Nicky Little, Todd Pearce, Nick Beavon, Graham Dodds, James Head, Peter Eccles, Grant Runciman and Andrew Nagle.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Lewis Niven, Gary Holborn, Lewis Carmichael, Ruaridh Knott, Tom Wilson and Andrew Skeen.
Heriot’s team: Keith Buchan; Harry Boisseau, Cameron Ferguson, Rory Carmichael, Colin Goudie; OJ Brown, Graham Wilson; Nathan Borel, George Turner, Stewart Mustard, Russell Nimmo, Murray Douglas, Jason Hill, Chris Mulligan and Jack Turley (captain).
Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Gavin Cameron, Ken MacKenzie, Scott Burnside, Robbie Tait, Liam Steele and Max Nimmo.
Referee: Andrew McMenemy
Edinburgh Accies v Aberdeen Grammar Rugby, Raeburn Place, 2.30pm
Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Nyle Godsmark, Ewen Campbell, Iain Berthinussen (captain), Jack Marples; Alex Blair, Alex Black; Duncan Morrison, Aleki Lutui, Shaun Strudwick, Jamie McCarthy, Alex Toolis, Robin Snape, Hamish Watson and Callum Reid.
Replacements: Michael Liness, Clem Lacqor, Duncan Campbell, Ronan Seydak and Ruairidh Bonner.
Aberdeen Grammar Rugby team: Will Wardlaw; Erlend Oag, Harry Duthie, Greig Ryan, Grant Walker; Rob Aloe, Morgan Ward; Matt Schosser, Sam Bingham, Struan Cessford, Stuart Smith, Jamie Metcalfe, Ally Mackie, Tony McGinness and Tom Preece.
Replacements: Matt Dixon, Sean O’Connor, Matt McCall, Sam Knudson, Jamie Lauder and Angus Rennie.
Referee: Sam Grove-White
Ayr v Glasgow Hawks, Millbrae, 2.30pm
Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Kerr Gossman; Ross Curle, Murray McConnell; George Hunter, Fergus Scott, Nick Cox, Callum Templeton, Scott Sutherland, Graham Fisken, Andrew Dunlop and Peter McCallum.
Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, Denford Mutamangira, Graham Williamson, Peter Jericevich and Danny McCluskey.
Glasgow Hawks team: Gavin Lowe; Tom Steven, Robert Beattie, Ally McLay, Haddon McPherson; Mike Martin, Sean Yacoubian; Steven Findlay, Jack McFarlane, Mike Cusack, Andy Linton (captain), Angus Hamilton, Andy Redmayne, Stephen Leckie and Andy Kirkland.
Replacements: Finlay Gillies, Brendan Cullinane, Mateusz Bartoszek, Craig Brodie, Paddy Boyer, David Milne and Jack Steele.
Referee: Graeme Wells
Gala v Stirling County, Netherdale, 3pm
Gala team: Andy McLean; Grant Somerville, Chris Auld, Ewan Scott, Gerald Sibanda; David O’Hagan, George Graham (captain); Rory Sutherland, Callum Macintosh, Ewan McQuillin, Craig Borthwick, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Stevie Cairns and Ewan Dods.
Replacements: Lewis Bertram, Josh Irvine, Scot Chapman, Graham Speirs and Alan Emond.
Stirling County team: Brian Archibald; Graham Lindsay, Danny Gilmour, Fraser Lyle, Ben Addison; Stuart Edwards, AJ Macfarlane; Jamie Bhatti, Alex Moffat, Garry Mountford, Euan Dewar, Craig Deacons, Struan Robertson, Shaun McDonald and Stevie Swindall.
Replacements: Kris Burney, Reyner Kennedy, Ruaridh Leishman or Ross Murray, Matt Larsen and Joff Hope.
Referee: Peter Allan