Capital sides clash to make the cut

Two Edinburgh sides will go head-to-head for a place in next season’s RBS Premiership at the neutral venue of Hawthornden, home of Lasswade RFC, tomorrow (Saturday 5 April) at 3pm.

Alex Blair

 Edinburgh Accies, will be looking to retain their spot in the top tier of Scottish club rugby against city rivals Stewart’s Melville FP, who finished second in the RBS National League and in turn gained the chance to fight for a Premiership place.

Accies were leapfrogged by Stirling County following the last game of their league campaign as they fell to an agonising 23-17 defeat to the Caledonia side.

Despite recording some stirring victories this season, including beating eventual RBS Premiership champions Melrose 29-21, Accies have failed to record a league win since in six games which has ultimately led to them fighting for survival.

Edinburgh Accies and Scotland under-20 wing, Jamie Farndale, said: “There’s a real positive vibe around the squad coming off the back of three good training sessions, possibly the sharpest we’ve had all year, in which we focussed on our intensity, physicality and organisation.

“Despite strong outings in the British and Irish Cup, we struggled to take what we had learned from the competition and make the transition back into league duties.

“Confidence really isn’t an issue for us, even although the stats are in favour of Stewart’s Melville. We feel that if we can play the game we are capable of, we will come away with the win and secure our place in the Premiership.

“As a squad, we’re used to the higher intensity and tempo of the Premiership and feel that our opposition won’t be able to cope with this, whether it’s through the physicality and mobility of our pack, or our ability to play a quick game through our backs.”

The fate of the play-off place came down to the wire, and despite Stewart’s Melville losing to Watsonians in the final game of the season, the losing bonus point from the 19-15 defeat was enough to secure the top two spot for the former.

Despite a tough start to the season, losing three of their opening four games, the Inverleith side went on a 13 game unbeaten league run contributing to their second place finish in the RBS National League.

This weekend will also mark the start of the spring sevens season, Gala and Haddington both hosting tournaments.  The Glasgow University Viper 7s will also take place at New Anniesland from 10am tomorrow.

Gala 7s draw, Netherdale

The first tie between Gala and Boroughmuir kicks-off at 3pm.

Pool A – Gala, Boroughmuir and Selkirk

Pool B – Melrose, Peebles and Jed-Forest

Pool C – Kelso, Watsonians and Hawick

Pool D – Hawick, Edinburgh Accies and Heriot’s

The second and third place teams in each group will also enter the Plate and Bowl competition respectively.

Haddington 7s draw, Neilson Park

Currie vs RHC, 1.30pm
Heriot's vs Linlithgow, 1.45pm
Preston Lodge vs Ross High, 2.00pm
Haddington vs Forrester, 2.15pm
Musselburgh vs Portobello, 2.30pm
North Berwick vs Murrayfield Wanderers, 2.45pm
Watsonians vs Dunbar, 3.00pm
Boroughmuir vs Howe of Fife, 3.15pm

Edinburgh Accies v Stewart’s Melville FP, RBS Premiership play-off, Hawthornden, 3pm

Edinburgh Accies team: Ruairidh Young; Jamie Farndale, Ewen Campbell, Iain Berthinussen, Nyle Godsmark; Alex Blair, Mike Campbell; Duncan Morrison, Michael Liness, Phil Cringle, Greg Campbell (captain), Alex Toolis, Tom Stuart, Robin Snape and Callum Reid.

Replacements: David Bates, Clement Lacquor, Jamie McCarthy, Tom Hancock, Ruairidh Bonner, Jack Marples and Sam Pecqueur.

Stewart’s Melville FP team: Mike Hanning; Alan Whittingham, David Hampton, Neil Bowie, Matt Morrell; Nick McCashin, Fraser Strachan; Willie Aitken, Nicholas Hart, Rhys Morgan, Scott Brewster, Fraser Morrison, Ruaridh Stewart, Benjamin Wilson and Adam Howie.

Replacements: Ross Anderson, Conor Mackay, Jonathan Hamblin, Stuart Wilson, Donald Sangster, Seb Trotter and Chris Beattie.

Referee: James Matthew