All eyes will be on the Borders come Saturday as one of two teams, only four miles apart, will win this year’s RBS Premiership.
Gala currently lead the title-race, sitting two league points above Melrose, as they both go into their final game of the campaign. A win of any sort for Gala will secure them the title, regardless of their Border counterpart’s result.
However, a win will be no easy ask for the Netherdale club as they will have to see of last year’s champions, Ayr, who travel to Gala off the back of a strong 32-7 victory over their rivals Glasgow Hawks last weekend.
When the Border side travelled through to the south-west in the first encounter between the two sides this season, they scraped through with a 20-13 victory.
If Gala are to lose, there are a number of permutations that must be considered in determining who will be crowned as RBS Premiership champions.
Gala head coach George Graham, said: “There’s a familiar look to the squad for what will be the biggest game at Netherdale for many a year.
“The team has been selected based on the consistency they have shown over the season, and if they can carry this level of performance into the game, hopefully we’ll secure the win.
“However, despite Ayr having no chance of winning the league, they are a very strong and proud team and will do everything they can to come down to Netherdale and get the win.
“Hopefully the feeling that is flowing through the boys of sheer desire to win will be the telling factor on the day and determine who comes out on top”.
Chasing side Melrose, welcome fifth-place Currie to The Greenyards, in a game that may have huge connotations as to who lifts the trophy. Despite the former recording an emphatic 30-10 victory away at Malleny Park when the teams met earlier this season, Currie have picked up their form and are going strong as of late, their last league loss being in October of last year.
Once again, Melrose will need to do their utmost not only to secure the win, but to tally as many points as possible in the process, with the title potentially going down to points difference.
No matter the outcome of their result away to Glasgow Hawks at Old Anniesland on Saturday, Aberdeen Grammar will face automatic relegation to the RBS National League next. Their opposition, Hawks, will continue to compete in the RBS Premiership in season 2014/15.
At the foot of the table, the battle to avoid the relegation play-off spot continues.
Of the three sides that could potentially finish in the relegation play-off zone, two will play each other this weekend, as Stirling County travel down from the shadow of the Ochils to play Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place.
Stirling County head coach Graeme Young, said:
“Such is the condensed nature of the table, a win for either side could see them finish their season in fifth or ninth and be tasked with the relegation play-off game.
“Our previous league fixture against Accies went down to the wire, with them coming out on top by a point, and we expect a similar kind of game this time out.
“We can gain confidence from the fact we have secured points from each of our last six league games, but are under no illusion that this will be a tough encounter with all that is at stake.”
The other team who find themselves in the depths of the relegation battle are Hawick, who welcome third place Heriot’s to Mansfield Park this weekend. The Border side caused an upset last time the teams met beating Heriot’s 25-18 at Goldenacre.
Pro-players playing in the RBS Premiership this week; Finn Russell, James Eddie (both Ayr), Lewis Niven (Melrose), Joaquin Dominguez, Sean Cox (both Currie), Nikki Walker, Rob McAlpine (both Hawick), Kevin Bryce (Heriot’s), Hamish Watson, Alex Black (both Edinburgh Accies), Henry Pyrgos and Peter Horne (both Stirling County).
Gala v Ayr, Netherdale, 3pm
Gala team: Andy McLean; Grant Somerville, Chris Auld, Ewan Scott, Gerald Sibanda; David O’Hagan, Ewan Gunter; Rory Sutherland, Callum MacIntosh, Ewan McQuillin, Craig Borthwick, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Stevie Cairns and Ewan Dods.
Replacements: Lewis Bertram, Scott Chapman, Tom Weir, Gregor Mein and Graeme Speirs.
Ayr team: Grant Anderson (captain); Robbie Fergusson, Ross Curle, Dean Kelbrick, Kerr Gossman; Finn Russell, Murray McConnell; Denford Mutamangira, Fergus Scott, D’Arcy Rae, Callum Templeton, Scott Sutherland, James Eddie, Andrew Dunlop and Peter McCallum.
Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, Gordon Sykes, Graham Fisken, Peter Jericevich and Craig Gossman.
Referee: Neil Paterson
Melrose v Currie, Greenyards, 3pm
Melrose team: Austin Lockington; Damien Hoyland, Bruce Dick, Joe Helps, Callum Anderson; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce (captain), Gary Holborn, Lewis Carmichael, James Head, Andrew Nagel, Grant Runciman and Graham Dodds.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Lewis Niven, Peter Eccles, Andrew Skeen and Alan Dodds.
Currie team: George Horne; Harvey Elms, Joaquin Dominguez, Joe Reynolds, Ethan Pollock; James Semple, Richard Snedden; John Cox, David Cherry, Alastair Hamilton, Sean Cox, Petre Netrascu, Mark Cairns (captain), Malcolm Peacock and Ross Weston.
Replacements: Graeme Carson, Fraser Watts, Gary Temple, Mike Vernal and Ruaridh Smith.
Referee: Andrew McMenemy
Hawick v Heriots, Mansfield Park, 3pm
Hawick team: Neil Renwick; Graeme Anderson, Lee Armstrong, Scott McLeod, Nikki Walker; Rory Hutton, Greg Cottrell (captain); Shawn Muir, Lindsey Gibson, Liam Launders, Bruce McNeil, Rob McAlpine, Stuart Graham, Rory Scott and Keith Davies.
Replacements: Ross Graham, Wullie Blacklock, Nick Mactaggart, Ali Weir and Jake Evens.
Heriot’s team: Colin Goudie; Liam Steele, Max Nimmo, Keith Buchan, Harry Boisseau; Rory Carmichael, Graham Wilson; Nathan Borel, Kevin Bryce, Gavin Cameron, Russell Nimmo, Murray Douglas, Jack Turley (captain), Chris Mulligan and Jason Hill.
Replacements: Craig Owenson, Stewart Mustard, Ben Toolis, Jack Maclean and OJ Brown.
Referee: Graeme Wells
Edinburgh Accies v Stirling County, Raeburn Place, 3pm
Edinburgh Accies team: Ruairidh Young; Jamie Farndale, Ewen Campbell, Iain Berthinussen, Nyle Godsmark; Alex Blair, Alex Black; Alex Allan, Aleki Lutui, Phil Cringle, Alex Toolis, Jamie McCarthy, Robin Snape, Hamish Watson and Greg Campbell (captain).
Replacements: Michael Liness, Duncan Morrison, Tom Stuart, Ruairidh Bonner and Jack Marples.
Stirling County team: Brian Archibald; Ben Addison, Danny Gilmour, Fraser Lyle, Rory Hughes; Stuart Edwards, Henry Pyrgos; Jamie Bhatti, Alex Moffat, Garry Mountford, Euan Dewar, Craig Deacons, Struan Robertson, Shaun McDonald and Bengy Barsanti.
Replacements: Billy Dineen, Reyner Kennedy, Adam Ashe, AJ Macfarlane and Peter Horne.
Referee: James Matthews
Glasgow Hawks v Aberdeen Grammar, Old Anniesland, 3pm
Glasgow Hawks team: Gavin Lowe; Tom Steven, Ally MacLay, Jack Steele, Haddon McPherson; Dan Smart, Sean Yacoubain; Steven Findlay, Jack McFarlane, Brendan Cullinane, Angus Hamilton, Andy Linton (captain), Stephen Leckey, Tyrone Holmes and Andy Kirkland.
Replacements: Callum Kerr, John Lohoar, Mateusz Bartoszek, Patrick Boyer and Mike Martin.
Aberdeen Grammar team: Stevie Aitken; Erlend Oag, Harry Duthie, Will Wardlaw, Byron McGuigan; Rob Aloe, Morgan Ward; Matt Dixon, Sam Bingham, Struan Cessford, Matt McCall, Andy Crammond, Ally Mackie, Greig Ryan (captain) and Tom Preece.
Replacements: Sean O’Connor, Matt Schosser, Jamie Metcalfe, Sam Knudson and Jamie Lauder.
Referee: Daniel Shaw