Scotland’s two top club sides will come together tomorrow (Saturday 23 August) at The Greenyards for a Charity Shield match, one week out from the start of the competitive BT Premiership season.
2013-14 league champions and tomorrow’s hosts, Melrose and 2014 Cup champions Heriot’s will be out to set a marker for the new season and indeed aim for silverware, in the match that will raise funds for Breast Cancer Care.
The game will follow the Edinburgh Rugby v Leicester Tigers pre-season contest, kicking off at 5pm.
Both sides have a mix of experience, as well as a selection of new recruits named in their match-day squads.
Melrose head coach, John Dalziel, said: “Our squad has a fresh and rejuvenated look including our influential captain Fraser Thomson and battle-hardened players Graham Dodds, Nick Beavon, Stuart Johnson and Ross Miller, all of whom finished last season early due to injuries.
“We’re also delighted to include new signings Tito Mua, Neil Irvine-Hess and Murdo McAndrew, who will make their competitive home debuts.
Tomorrow should be a great day of rugby with the Edinburgh Rugby game that will come before our match. It will help us prepare for the new season and will be an ideal opportunity to measure where we are physically.”
Heriot’s prop, Struan Cessford, said: “I enjoyed playing with Heriot's during my first two years and after a stint with Aberdeen Grammar Rugby I was keen to return to the club.
"Our season is shaping up nicely at the moment. It is only the second year the coaching group has been together and I know they will want to be building on doing well last season. So there is an exciting year ahead.
"Melrose are a top team who won the league last year and they will give us a good opportunity to measure ourselves with the new BT Premiership campaign now only a week away."
Melrose team: Fraser Thomson (captain); Tito Mua, Austin Lockington, Blair Hutchison, Rory Tollan; Richard Mill, Tom Wilson; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce, Nick Beavon, Lewis Carmichael, James Head, Neil Irvine-Hess, Andrew Nagle and Graham Dodds.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Colin Arthur, Stuart Jonhson, Ruiri Knott, Ross Miller, Murdo McAndrew and Donald Crawford.
Heriot’s team: Keith Buchan; Colin Goudie, Max Nimmo, Cameron Ferguson, Liam Steele; Gregor McNeish, Graham Wilson; Nathan Borrell, Blair Coupar, Struan Cessford, Ben Cogley, Jack Turley (captain), A N Other and Jason Hill.
Replacements: Chris Mulligan, Gavin Cameron, Stuart Edwards, Harry Boisseau, Rory Carmichael, Max Learmonth and Charlie Simpson.
Referee: Graeme Wells