BT Cup PREVIEW | Hawick hope to bounce back against Ayr

Hawick host Ayr at Mansfield Park tomorrow (Saturday 10 February, kick-off 2.30pm) as both sides look to progress to the semi-finals of the BT Cup.

In Round 1 Ayr narrowly beat fellow BT Premiership play-off challengers, Currie Chieftans, and Hawick got their first win of the season in a border derby against Selkirk.

The Green Machine went on to win five games on the trot but a disappointing result against Watsonians last week will give added motivation for them to cause an upset.

The visitors have been consistent this season in the BT Premiership, currently sitting fourth in the table, and will be wanting to improve on their success in last year’s BT Cup campaign when they were edged out by Melrose in the final.

Hawick Head Coach, George Graham, is hoping his side make a comeback in form after last weekend’s result in Edinburgh.

Graham said: “We are working extremely hard to make sure we can bounce back from the poor performance we produced last week and a home quarter final game is the perfect opportunity to do so.

However, we know all about Ayr and what is required to ensure we give ourselves the best opportunity of success.”

Hawick make eight changes to their squad to face Ayr with Nicki Little and Stuart Graham coming back into the starting line up. Shaun Fairbairn joins the bench and Greg Cotteril, Lee Armstrong, Keith Davies and Ali Weir all come back into the starting XV after their unavailability last week. Lewis Ferguson replaces Ross Combe who is unavailable through injury.

Ayr Head Coach, Calum Forrester, knows playing in the Borders will be a real challenge for his team.

Forrester said: “Hawick have shown a good run of form over the last couple of months and have turned Mansfield into a fortress once again.

“We will need to be more accurate this weekend than we were in our last outing but the players are looking forward to the challenge that Hawick will pose in this BT Cup quarter final match.”

The visitors have made 3 changes this week with Rob McAlpine returning from injury and starting in the second row for the injured Blair Macpherson. George Hunter starts at 6 with Tommy Spinks switching to 7 with the backline remaining unchanged.

Elsewhere, the BT Cup Quarter Finals continue with Watsonians facing Boroughmuir at home, Edinburgh Accies travel to face Stirling, and Marr host Melrose.

Hawick v Ayr, Mansfield Park, 2.30pm

Hawick: Ali Weir, Gary Munroe, Keith Davies, Dom Buckley, Lewis Ferguson, Lee Armstrong, Greig Cotteril, Shawn Muir, Fraser Renwick, Nicki Little, Dalton Redpath, Craig Hamilton, Ross Gibson, Stuart Graham, Bruce McNeil CAPTAIN

Replacements: Matt Carryer, Matt Landels, Daniel Sudden, Shaun Fairbairn, Kyle Brunton

Ayr: Grant Anderson; Matt Davidson, Danny McCluskey, Frazier Climo, Craig Gossman; Scott Lyle, David Armstrong; Robin Hislop, Lewis Anderson, Steven Longwell, Scott Sutherland, Rob McAlpine, George Hunter, Tommy Spinks, Pete McCallum CAPTAIN

Replacements: Ruairidh Sayce, Michael Badenhorst, Jonathan Agnew, George Stokes, Harry Warr, Jonny Mccorkindale, James Armstrong

BT Cup Quarter Finals - Saturday 10 February

Watsonians v Boroughmuir, Myreside, 2pm

Hawick v Ayr, Mansfield Park, 2.30pm

Stirling County v Edinburgh Accies, Bridgehaugh, 2.30pm

Marr v Melrose, Fullarton, 2.30pm