BT Premiership PREVIEW | Ayr prepare for battle against Melrose

Ayr host perennial rivals and current table-toppers Melrose at Millbrae (kick-off 3pm) this Saturday (16 September).

The west coast side are looking to make amends for a disappointing start to the BT Premiership which saw a shock home defeat to Glasgow Hawks last weekend.

Visitors Melrose, in contrast, have flown out the blocks with two convincing victories in the opening rounds.

The Borderers drew first blood of the season against Ayr when they claimed the BT Charity Shield in a thrilling curtain-raiser.

Ayr's Coach highlighted the challenges for the Millbrae side and anticipates a well fought match.

Head Coach, Calum Forrester, said: “The players were hugely disappointed with their performance against Hawks but the great thing about the BT Premiership is that we have an opportunity to go out this weekend and make amends.

“Melrose pose a huge challenge given the form that they have shown over the opening weekends and we have already seen how dangerous they can be when given a bit of space following the BT Charity Shield match earlier in the season.”

The Borders side have had a perfect undefeated start to their 2017/18 campaign but Melrose Head Coach, Robert Chrystie, is adamant that the team keep their feet firmly on the ground.

He said: “Ayr at Millbrae is always a hugely challenging fixture but one that our squad always looks forward to.

“Ayr have not been at their best so far this year but have got quality throughout their squad and will be looking to improve on last weekend’s performance.

“We have prepared well this week and are excited to test ourselves against last year’s champions in what is sure to be an exciting game.”

Elsewhere, Glasgow Hawks return to Scotstoun Stadium as they take on Heriot’s and Marr look to build upon their first win of the season as they travel to Mansfield Park to face Hawick.

In the capital, Boroughmuir face Currie Chieftains in a derby at Meggetland, while Watsonians go head-to-head with Stirling County at Myreside.

Ayr v Melrose 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 3 - Saturday 16 September

Watsonians v Stirling County, Myreside, 3pm

Watsonians: Andrew Chalmers; Glenn Bryce, Michael Allen, DJ Innes, Jamie Farndale; Ewan Fox, Willie Thomson; Finn Hobbis, Sean Crombie, Kyle Whyte, Jamie Hodgson, Craig Borthwick CAPTAIN, Michael Fedo, James Miller, Euan Dods Replacements: Darren Miller, Nick Fraser, Andrew O’Neill, Euan McKirdy, Rory Hutton

Stirling County: Jonny Hope CAPTAIN; Logan Trotter, Owen Jarvie Ross Curle, Matt Lamb; Logan Bonar, Peter Jericevich; Remy Chies, Reyner Kennedy, Adam Nicol, Callum Hunter-Hill, Hamilton Burr, Lewis Wynne, Shaun Macdonald, Ruairidh Leishman Replacements:Matthew Emmison, Gary Holburn, Joe Beech, Andrew Grant-Suttie, Ruairidh Swan

Boroughmuir v Currie Chieftains, Meggetland, 3pm

Boroughmuir: Greg Cannie;Ben Renton,Ciaran Whyte,Mark Hare,Jordan Edmunds;Chris Laidlaw CAPTAIN,Jonny Adams;Ross Dunbar,Jonny Matthews,Dan Winning,Archie Erskine,Callum Atkinson,Dan Marek,Craig Keddie,Tom Drennan Replacements: Cal Davies, Dale Robertson, Aubrey Mcube, Jack Hamilton, Harvey Gardiner

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

Hawick v Marr, Mansfield Park, 3pm

Hawick: Tom Brown; Ross Combe, Lee Armstrong, Dom Buckley, Lewis Ferguson; Ali Weir, Gary Munro; Nicky Little, Fraser Renwick, Kevin Bryce, Craig Hamilton, Dalton Redpath, Guy Graham, Keith Davies, Bruce McNeil CAPTAINReplacements: Matt Carryer, Shawn Muir, Ross Gibson, Greg Cottrell, Kyle Brunton

Marr: Craig Kolarik; Scott Bickerstaff, Conor Bickerstaff, Colin Sturgeon, Richard Dagleish; Dougie Steele, Kaleem Barreto; Greg Jackson, James Malcolm, William Farquhar, Greg Peterson, Ewan Bulger, MacKenzie Pearce, Angus Johnston, Kyle Hatherall Replacements: Stephen Adair, Chris Nisbet, Ross Jackson, Gregor Ness, Toby Buchanan

Ayr v Melrose, Millbrae, 3pm

Ayr: Grant Anderson; Danny McCluskey, Stafford McDowall, Scott Lyle, Craig Gossman; Frazier Climo, Harry Warr; Ryan Grant, Robbie Smith, Steven Longwell, Robert McAlpine, Jonathan Agnew, Blair Macpherson, Tommy Spinks, Pete McCallum CAPTAINReplacements: Lewis Anderson, Adam Prentice, George Stokes, Paddy Dewhirst, Jamie Bova

Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Ross McCann, Nyle Godsmark, Craig Jackson, Sam Pecqueur; Jason Baggott, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiels, Russel Anderson, Ruairi Mcleod, Angus Runciman, Ian Moody, Neil Irvine-Hess, Grant Runciman CAPTAIN, Ali Miller Replacements:Richard Ferguson, Callum Crookshanks, Ruaridh Knott, Bruce Colvine, James Johnstone

Glasgow Hawks v Heriot’s, Scotstoun, 3pm

Glasgow Hawks: Robert Beattie; Kyle Rowe, Brendan McGroarty CAPTAIN, Jack Steele, Sam Yawayawa; Ross Thompson, Paddy Boyer; Steven Findlay, Cammy Fenton, Lewis Skinner, Andrew Kirkland, Kiran McDonald, Stephen Leckey, Matt Smith, Grant Stewart Replacements: Hamish Livingston, Gary Strain, Theo Nwosu-Hope, Mark New, Erland Oag

Heriot’s: Ross Jones; Charlie Simpson, Robbie Mulveena Rory Carmichael CAPTAIN, Robert Kay; Stuart Edwards, Tom Wilson; Murray McCallum, Michael Liness, Struan Cessford, Callum Marshall, Adam Sinclair, Michael Maltman, Jack McLean, Martin Hughes Replacements:Ali Johnstone, Martin Bouab, Nick Sutherland, Alex Ball, Craig Robertson