BT Premiership PREVIEW | Hawick look to turn Borders derby on its head

Melrose host Hawick at the Greenyards this Saturday (28 October, kick-off 3pm) in the season’s first Borders derby.

The teams couldn’t have experienced a bigger contrast in fortunes so far this season with an improved Hawick outfit yet to record a win and Melrose dominant after eight bonus point victories.

Recently appointed Head Coach of Hawick, George Graham, is optimistic of his side’s chances in the second half of the season, following a better performance last week and has named an unchanged starting line-up.

He said: “We look forward to making the short trip to the Greenyards to face Melrose on Saturday.

“A much-improved performance last week against Ayr, despite the defeat, has lifted the players’ confidence and we will be relishing the challenge of competing in this first BT Premiership Borders derby of the season.

“Melrose have been flying this season so far, so we know that we have to raise our concentration levels, our intensity and our physicality immensely to compete against the current league leaders.”

Edinburgh Rugby front row Rory Sutherland bolsters the Hawick bench and will add fire power in the latter stages.  

Melrose, on the other hand, will be without Ross McCann, Sam Pecqueur and Nyle Godsmark who will be in South Africa with Scotland 7s.

The home team are wary of a backlash as the visitors look to record a win before the regular season reaches the halfway mark.

Head Coach of Melrose, Rob Chrystie, said: “This weekend’s game with Borders rival Hawick is sure to be a cracker.

George clearly got a reaction last weekend against Ayr and will be looking to build on that performance.

“With the inclusion of Scottish Internationals in the Hawick front five we will need to be at the top of our game.”

Elsewhere, Currie Chieftains welcome Heriot’s in another intriguing derby match and second placed Ayr will be looking to continue their recent form against Watsonians.

Stirling County will hope to back up last week’s performance at home against Marr and Glasgow Hawks visit Boroughmuir as they try to rediscover winning ways.

Melrose v Hawick 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.

Melrose v Hawick, The Greenyards, 3pm

Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Gavin Wood, George Taylor, Craig Jackson CAPTAIN, Patrick Anderson; Jason Baggott, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiels, Richard Ferguson, Nick Beavon, James Head, Angus Runciman, Neil Irvine-Hess, Ruaridh Knott, Ian Moody

Replacements: Dan Elkington, Ruairi Mcleod, Grant Runciman, Andrew Bailey, Morgan Tait

Hawick: Ali Weir; Gary Munro, Gary Johnstone, Dom Buckley, Lewis Ferguson; Lee Armstrong, Greg Cotteril; Shawn Muir, Matt Carryer, Nicky Little, Craig Hamilton, Dalton Redpath, Guy Graham, Stuart Graham, Bruce McNeil CAPTAIN

Replacements:Fraser Renwick, Rory Sutherland, Keith Davies, David Lowrie, Keith Davies

BT Premiership Round 9 – Saturday 28 October

Ayr v Watsonians, Millbrae, 3pm

Currie Chieftains v Heriot’s, Malleny Park, 3pm

Stirling County v Marr, Bridgehaugh, 3pm

Borouhgmuir v Glasgow Hawks, Meggetland, 3pm