Tennent’s Premiership PREVIEW | Newly promoted Edinburgh Accies host Ayr

Newly-promoted side Edinburgh Accies take on Ayr at Raeburn Place tomorrow (Saturday 1 September) as the Tennent’s Premiership gets underway for the new season (kick-off 3pm).

The top tier of Scotland's men's competitions welcomes Edinburgh Accies following their promotion from last year’s BT National League Division 1.

The Raeburn place side will be embolded following an imperious league campaign last season, having lost only one game to second-placed Jed-Forest on their way to the title.

Flanker Jamie Sole leads Edinburgh Accies as captain, while Edinburgh Rugby prop, Rory Sutherland, is released to the club for the opening match.

Edinburgh Accies Head Coach, Derek O’Riordan, said: “It is great to see our starting XV freshened up from our championship winning campaign in National 1.

“A balanced blend of youth in Davis, Spencer, Campbell and Hagerty in the squad is offset by the experience of some seasoned players in Armstrong, Mill, Black and Sole.

“It is definitely an exciting 20 who will be taking the field at the weekend and we are looking forward to watching them step up at Raeburn Place on Saturday.”

He continued: “Saturday is a great opportunity to kick off our campaign with a bang – benchmarking ourselves against one of the most consistently successful clubs in the country for over a decade.

“However, our approach won’t change how we navigated our way through National 1: heads down, working hard for each other and letting the score take care of itself.”

Ayr, who have appeared in the last three BT Premiership finals, are under no illusion of the challenge ahead as they prepare for a tough encounter in the capital.

Ayr Head Coach, Pete Murchie, said: “We are looking forward to the first game of the season in what will be a difficult challenge away from home against Accies.

“I am sure they will be full of confidence going into this game, after picking up the winning habit in there National 1 title victory last season.

“The players are excited about the challenge that awaits us and will be looking forward to working hard for each other to get the season off to a positive start.”

Elsewhere, Melrose face Borders rivals, Hawick, after being crowned champions for season 2017/18, having edged past Ayr in a tense final at their Greenyards home in April.

Last week’s BT Charity Shield winners, Stirling County, take on Watsonians at Myreside while Heriot’s travel to Balgray to go head-to-head against Glasgow Hawks.

Boroughmuir travel to local rivals, Currie Chieftains, for the first all-Edinburgh match-up of this term.

Edinburgh Accies v Ayr will be live-tweeted from @Scotlandteam.

Clubs from across Tennent’s National Leagues 1, 2 and 3 will also start their season this weekend. For a full list of fixtures, visit scottishrugby.org

Edinburgh Accies v Ayr, Raeburn Place, 3pm

Edinburgh Accies: Robbie Chalmers; Cameron Gray, George Spencer, Neil Armstrong, Callum Ramm; Richard Mill, Robbie Davis; Rory Sutherland, Callum Black, James Pearse, Ronan Seydak, Michael Badenhorst, Jamie Sole CAPTAIN, Ruari Campbell, Lawrie Seydak.

Replacements: Nick Hall, Clement Lacour, Sean Hagerty, Max Love, Jamie Loomes.

Ayr: Grant Anderson; Kyle Rowe, Ollie Smith, Danny McCluskey CAPTAIN, Jamie Bova; Scott Lyle, David Armstrong; Ruairidh Sayce, Robbie Smith, Steven Longwell, Lee Scott, Marshall Sykes, David Corbenici, Tommy Spinks, Blair McPherson.

Replacements: James Malcolm, Euan McLaren, Gregor Henry, Amir Rademaker, Paddy Dewhirst