Competition intensifies as Cup finals loom

The semi-finals of the RBS Cup, Shield and Bowl will take place this Saturday (29 March), with all teams looking to book a spot for the finals day on Saturday 19 April. The RBS Premiership will also reach a conclusion as Hawick and Ayr battle it out in the league’s only remaining game.

Carlin Isles will play for Ayr on Saturday

Despite their relegation from the RBS Premiership, Aberdeen Grammar are still in contention to win the Cup. After defeating Edinburgh Accies in the previous round, Grammar will play another capital side as they welcome Heriot’s to Rubislaw (2.30pm).

Heriot’s, put RBS Premiership champions Melrose to the sword in their quarter-final tie, winning 21-18 at The Greenyards.

Heriot’s head coach Phil Smith, said: “This our seventh game in the Cup, and our sixth away from home.

“We were delighted with our hard-fought win down at The Greenyards, and expect another tough tie at Rubislaw.

“The league games between ourselves and Aberdeen have seen no more than a three point gap in the final result, however, we are hoping for better conditions to allow both teams to be a bit more expansive this time out.”

Gala will play Glasgow Hawks in the second semi-final, the tie being played at Netherdale (3pm).

The Border side cruised through to the last four after recording an emphatic 35-3 victory over Stirling County in their quarter-final match.

Their opponents, Glasgow Hawks’, progression to the latter reaches of the Cup were not quite as easy, as they scraped a 28-24 victory over west rivals, Ayr.

Mansfield Park will be the venue for the only remaining game of this season’s RBS Premiership
(3pm). Ayr, who dashed Gala’s title-hopes in their last outing to the Borders, take on Hawick who secured their Premiership status last week with a 31-21 win over Heriot’s.

Pro-players turning out for Premiership clubs this week are Carlin Isles (Ayr) and Nikki Walker, Rob McAlpine and Peter Horne (Hawick).

In the RBS Shield competition there will be a north v south showdown as Berwick make the 640 mile round trip to the highlands to face Caithness.

The other Shield semi-final will be played between RBS West Division 1 league leaders and East Regional League Division 1 winners, Irvine and Preston Lodge respectively.

Fife side Glenrothes, will play St Boswells in the first of the RBS Bowl semi-finals. Also competing for a spot in the Bowl final will be Highland who travel to Uddingston for their semi-final tie.

Aberdeen Grammar v Heriot’s, RBS Cup, Rubislaw, 2.30pm

Aberdeen Grammar: Stevie Aitken; Erlend Oag, Byron McGuigan, Will Wardlaw, Angus Rennie; Rob Aloe, Morgan Ward; Nicki Fraser, Fraser Brown, Struan Cessford, Andy Cramond, Jamie Metcalfe, Greig Ryan (captain), Tony McGinness and Tom Preece.

Replacements: Mike Cox, Matt Schosser, Matt McCall, Ally Mackie, Sam Knudson, Mark Ryan and Jamie Lauder.

Heriot’s: Colin Goudie; Liam Steele, Keith Buchan, Cammy Ferguson, Harry Boisseau; Rory Carmichael, Graham Wilson; Nathan Borel, Kevin Bryce, Stewart Mustard, Russell Nimmo, Murray Douglas, Jack Turley (captain), Chis Mulligan and Jason Hill.

Replacements: Craig Owenson, George Turner, Ben Toolis, Jack Maclean, Jamie Syme, Max Nimmo and OJ Brown.

Referee: James Matthew

Gala v Glasgow Hawks, RBS Cup, Netherdale, 3pm

Gala: Graham Speirs; Grant Somerville, Gregor Mein, Alan Emond, Gerald Sibanda; David O’Hagan, Ewan Gunter; Rory Sutherland, Callum Mackintosh, Ewan Johnstone, Craig Borthwick, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Stevie Cairns and Euan Dods.

Replacements: Lewis Bertram, Tom Weir, Chris Weir, Scott Chapman, Andy McLean, Russell Anderson and Craig Robertson.

Glasgow Hawks: Dan Smart; Tom Steven, Ally MacLay, Jack Steele, Haddon McPherson; Gavin Lowe, Patrick Boyer; Steven Findlay, Jack McFarlane, Brendan Cullinane, Angus Hamilton, Andy Linton (captain), Stephen Leckey, Mateusz Bartoszek and Andy Kirkland.

Replacements: Callum Kerr, John Lohoar, Craig Williamson, Kenneth Beattie, Criag Brodie, Sean Yacoubain and Mike Martin.

Referee: Lloyd Linton

Hawick v Ayr, RBS Premiership, Mansfield Park, 3pm

Hawick: Ali Weir; Nikki Walker, Lee Armstrong, Peter Horne, Scott McLeod; Rory Hutton, Greg Cottrell (captain); Shawn Muir, Ross Graham, Liam Launders, Nick MacTaggart, Rob McAlpine, Stuart Graham, Bruce McNeil and Keith Davies.

Replacements: Lindsey Gibson, Matt Landels, Steven Mabon, Graeme Anderson and Jake Evens.

Ayr: Craig Gossman; Kerr Gossman, Grant Anderson (captain), Dean Kelbrick, Carlin Isles; Ross Curle, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Fergus Scott, Stuart Fenwick, Callum Templeton, Scott Sutherland, Graham Fisken, Andrew Dunlop and Peter McCallum.

Replacements: James Malcolm, D’arcy Rae, Craig Brown, Murray McConnell and Murray Beckwith.

Referee: Gary Gordon