BT Premiership Preview: Hawks host promoted Marr at Scotstoun as season gets underway

Glasgow Hawks face newly-promoted side Marr at Scotstoun tomorrow (Saturday) as the BT Premiership gets underway for the new season (kick-off 2pm).

The Troon side become the third west coast team to play in the top flight this season and will look to impress after winning 21 from 22 matches in the BT National League Division 1 last year.

Despite an almost unbeaten record, Hawks finished third in the BT Premiership last season making this a tough first match for Marr, as the Glasgow-based side will want to kick start their campaign with a win.

Centre Brendan McGroarty leads Hawks as captain, while Scotland 7s internationalist and Glasgow Warriors’ scrum-half George Horne is released to the club for the opening match, alongside fellow Warrior Paddy Kelly and Cammy Fenton from Edinburgh Rugby.

Head Coach, Finlay Gilles, commented on his selection: “As ever, it’s been an extremely difficult first week’s selection, with all players working hard to earn a place in the first BT Premiership game of the season.

"There are a number of debutants for the club this week. In the pack Jake Eaglesham and Oliver Blackwell will start with Lewis Skinner and Hamish Livingston featuring on the bench.

“In the backline, teenagers Sam Yawayawa, Kyle Rowe and Ross Thomson will all make their first senior starts in the BT Premiership.”

However, Gilles has ensured that his side do not lack experience with Gary Strain, Stephen Findlay, Andy Linton and Andrew Kirkland in the pack, and McGroarty and Horne in the backline.

“We’re extremely excited to get the season underway and are hugely appreciative of Glasgow Warriors and Glasgow Life for allowing us to use Scotstoun Stadium whilst Old Anniesland is under repair,” Gilles added.

Marr are the newly-promoted team and they will be hugely excited to get their campaign underway. They’ve recruited very well and have added some real experience to a young and exciting squad that is used to winning games.

"We’re hoping that the 3G pitch at Scotstoun will allow for an exciting open brand of rugby that will allow both teams to play with lots of attacking ambition and flair.”

Marr Head Coach, Craig Redpath, found it equally challenging to select his first BT Premiership side: “The recruitment of a number of players during the summer, and all our players being fit and available, has made selection difficult.

Five of the new Marr recruits will start the game, with former Glasgow Hawks players – Ross Miller and Tom Steven – featuring against their former club.

Redpath continued: “We are all looking forward to the club’s first game in the BT Premiership. It’s also a great opportunity to play at Scotstoun.

“We’re under no illusions how tough it’s going to be this season and we have an extremely difficult first game against Glasgow Hawks, who were in the play-offs last season.

We’ve played Hawks a couple of times in the BT Cup in recent seasons and were convincingly beaten on both occasions. This game will give us a good benchmark to see if we have closed the gap since those games.”  

In the capital, last season’s BT Premiership winners Ayr travel to Meggetland to face Boroughmuir, while Heriot’s play Stirling County at home at Goldenacre.

Two Edinburgh based sides take to the Borders as the winner of last weekend’s BT Charity Shield, Melrose, host Watsonians while Hawick welcome Currie Chieftains to Mansfield Park.

Glasgow Hawks v Marr will be live-tweeted from @Scotlandteam.

Clubs from across BT National Leagues 1, 2 and 3 will also continue their season on Saturday. For a full list of fixtures, visit scottishrugby.org.

BT Premiership Round 1 – Saturday 2 September

Glasgow Hawks v Marr, Scotstoun, 2pm

Glasgow Hawks: Robert Beattie; Kyle Rowe, Brendan McGroarty CAPTAIN, Paddy Kelly, Sam Yawayawa; Ross Thompson, George Horne; Steven Findlay, Grant Stewart, Gary Strain, Andy Linton, Andy Kirkland, Stephen Leckey, Oliver Blackwell, Jack Eaglesham. Replacements: Cammy Fenton, Lewis Skinner, Hamish Livingston, Callum Harrison, Paddy Boyer.

Marr: Craig Kolarik; Scott Bickerstaff, Conor Bickerstaff, Colin Sturgeon, Richard Dagleish; Dougie Steele, Kaleem Barreto; Andrew Acton, Ollie Rossi, William Farquahar, Kyle Hatherall, Ewan Bulger, MacKenzie Pearce, Angus Johnston CAPTAIN, Ross Miller. Replacements: Stephen Adair, Ross Jackson, Toby Buchanan, Tom Steven. 

Boroughmuir v Ayr, Meggetland, 3pm

Boroughmuir: Greg Cannie; Ciaran Whyte, Ronan Kerr, Mark Hare, Jordan Edmunds; Chris Laidlaw CAPTAIN, Jonny Adams; Dale Robertson, Jonny Matthews, Dan Winning, Craig Keddie, Dan Marek, Aubrey Mcube, Matt Walker, Tom Drennan. Replacements: Cal Davies, Ross Dunbar, Tom Gracie, John Troxler, Blair Mills.

Ayr: Grant Anderson; Scott Lyle, Danny McCluskey, Stafford McDowall, Craig Gossman; Frazier Climo, David Armstrong; Robbie Smith, Pat McArthur, Adam Prentice, Robert McAlpine, Scott Sutherland, Blair Macpherson, Tommy Spinks, Pete McCallum CAPTAIN. Replacements: Lewis Anderson, Ryan Grant, Jonny Agnew, Paddy Dewhirst, Jamie Bova.    

Heriot’s v Stirling County, Goldenacre, 3pm

Heriot’s: Ross Jones; Charlie Simpson, Liam Steele, Rory Carmichael CAPTAIN, Craig Robertson; Stuart Edwards, Tom Wilson; Martin Bouab, Michael Liness, Struan Cessford, Jack Turley, Adam Sinclair, Michael Maltman, Jack McClean, Callum Marshall. Replacements: Logan Sinclair, Stewart Mustard, Clarke Smith, Hugh Fraser, Robert Kay.

Stirling County: Jonny Hope CAPTAIN; Bruce Sorbie, Craig Pringle, Ross Curle, Kerr Gossman; Logan Bonar, Peter Jericevich; Mike Macdonald, Reyner Kennedy, Gary Holburn, Callum Hunter-Hill, James Pow, Lewis Wynne, Chris Fusaro, Ruairidh Leishman. Replacements: Matthew Emmison, Connor Clark, Joe Beech, Andrew Grant-Suttie, Ruairidh Swan.    

Melrose v Watsonians, The Greenyards, 3pm

Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Ross McCann, Nyle Godsmark, Craig Jackson, Sam Pecqueur; Jason Baggot, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiels, Russel Anderson, Nick Beavon, Angus Runciman, Ruaridh Knott, Neil Irvine Hess, Grant Runciman CAPTAIN, Iain Moody. Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Ruairi Mcleod, Ali Miller, Bruce Colvine, Ben Chalmers.

Watsonians: Keith Young; Mark Bertram, Michael Allen, DJ James, Scott McLeod; Ewan Fox, Willie Thomson; Finn Hobbis, Sean Crombie, Kyle Whyte, Jamie Hodgson, Craig Borthwick CAPTAIN, Michael Fedo, Angus Duckett, Rory Drummond. Replacements: Darren Miller, Nathan Borel, Euan Dods, Euan McKirdy, Rory Hutton.

Hawick v Currie Chieftains, Mansfield Park, 3pm     

Hawick: Ali Weir; Darcy Graham, Lee Armstrong, Dom Buckley, Ross Combe; Kyle Brunton, Gary Munro; Nicky Little, Fraser Renwick, Kevin Bryce, Dalton Redpath, Bruce McNeil CAPTAIN, Guy Graham, Ross Gibson, Stuart Graham. Replacements: Shawn Muir, Craig Hamilton, Keith Davies, Greg Cottrell, Lewis Ferguson.

Currie Chieftains: Ben Robbins; Ruaraidh Smith, Harvey Elms, Robbie Nelson CAPTAIN, Cammy Gray; Jamie Forbes, Charlie Shiel; John Cox, Graeme Carson, A. P. McWilliam, Stephen Ainslie, Vince Wright, Mike Vernel, Thomas Gordon, Rhys Davies. Replacements: Campbell Wilson, Kris Burney, Scott McGinley, Matt O’Neil, Glen Faulds.