FOSROC Super6 Sprint Series Guide to the Game | Play-off 1
The FOSROC Super6 Sprint series enters the second stage of competition this weekend with the first round of play-off.
FRIDAY 27 MAY: Stirling County v Ayrshire Bulls
It's second versus third in the first Sprint Series play off this weekend. Both Stirling County and Ayrshire Bulls have recorded three wins from five and earned themselves four try-bonus point wins along the way but its the Bridgehaugh side who sit ahead with two losing-bonus points to Bulls one.
How to Watch
You can watch live on FreeSports from 7:30pm, Freeview HD channel 64, Sky HD channel 422, Virgin HD 553, TalkTalk 64, BT Vision channel 64 and on the online FreeSports Player. Outside of the UK and Ireland you can watch on the Scottish Rugby website.
Commentary on the evening is from Paul Mitchell, Chris Patterson hosted by Dougie Vipond.
Ref – Keith Allen
AR1 – Ben Blain
AR2 – David Sutherland
What the Coaches said:
Ben Cairns (Stirling County): "With almost a full squad to pick from there have been some really tough selection decisions this week but in the main, we have chosen to reward the players who put in an excellent performance last weekend, by picking a largely unchanged side.
"The single change in the backline see Ryan Southern make his debut at inside centre having returned from injury with Marcus Holden moving to 10 for the injured Euan Cunningham.
"Lewis Skinner moves to loosehead prop and John McKenna to the bench to accommodate Murphy Walker who is released by Glasgow and starts at tighthead prop. The only other change to the pack sees the fit again George Arnott replace Hamish Ferguson at blindside flanker. One other change on the bench sees Harry Russell rotate in for Finlay Burgess.
"We are back at Bridgehaugh for the third match in a row and home advantage has played a big part in our relative success so far this season. We have two massive matches to come in the playoffs, and everyone is working as hard as they can to ensure we give ourselves the best chance of competing for the Sprint Series title.
"Although we would like to have started and ended better, we were very pleased with large chunks of our performance versus Heriot's. We played some outstanding rugby at times with some excellent transition tries. The challenge now is to back that performance up.
"The Bulls will come to Bridgehaugh with massive motivation. They will be disappointed with their first half performance against Watsonians last week but will take confidence from how well they came back into the match. They will also be looking to get revenge after we won the same fixture in Round 2.
"That result was built on a strong defensive performance, with everyone working so hard for the team and really digging in. We will need to lay similar foundations if we are going to get a similar result this time around."
Pete Horne (Ayrshire Bulls): "As always there have been a number of selection headaches for the coaching team while putting together our match-day 23. We are boosted by the pro release of Grant Stewart and Tom Lambert which means one of the standout performers so far this season Alex McGuire moves to the back row.
"In the centre, Andy Stirrat comes in at inside centre, he has had limited opportunities through injury this season so we are all excited to have him back in the side. This sees Tom Jordan move inside for his first start of the season at stand-off.
"Although it was disappointing to come out on the wrong side of the scoreboard in what was an excellent game last weekend against Watsonians, we were really pleased with large parts of our performance. There are some things to tidy up defensively, especially around set piece, but apart from that our game is coming along nicely.
"We face what will be another huge test this weekend travelling to Bridgehaugh to play an in form Stirling team that knocked us over earlier in the season. If we are to get the desired result we will need a bit more fire in defence and a ruthless edge to our attack. As always I am excited to see our group of men take to the field and express themselves."
SATURDAY 28 MAY: Boroughmuir Bears v Southern Knights
It's 5th v 6th at Meggetland as Boroughmuir Bears host Southern Knights for the second consecutive week. Last weekend, it was Bears who took the spoils with a 31-18 win. Bears have a chance to jump into fourth should they pick up any points, whilst Knights will be pushing for a first win of the Sprint Series.
How to Watch
The game will be shown on BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer and the Scottish Rugby website.
Tickets are on sale now! You can pay at the gate or buy in advance from the link here: https://www.citizenticket.co.uk/events/boroughmuir...
Referee: Ross Mabon
AR1: Sam Grove-White
AR2: Jonny Perriam
What the Coaches said:
Graham Shiel (Boroughmuir Bears): "We are delighted and incredibly proud as a club to be able to promote Liam McConnell and Jerry Blyth-Lafferty who are both earning senior starts for the first time with the Bears in FOSROC Super6 rugby.
"Both players have graduated recently from Boroughmuir’s youth system. Well done to everyone who has had a role in their development and these opportunities are fully deserved for both players.
"On another note, we are also sad to see the departure of Robbie McCallum from the Bears program as he moves on to pastures new – Robbie has been an outstanding player for the Bears and huge part of what the group has been about since it’s conception. We wish Robbie a bright and successful future and we will watch his progress with interest.
"Some changes this week for the Bears squad affording opportunities along with some forced changes due to injuries.
"Callum Ramm and Joe Jenkins return from injuries to start in the back three alongside Tom Brown replacing Glen Faulds and Adam Scott who both drop out through injury.
"Player of the Match last week Robbie McCallum again starts alongside Duncan Munn in the centres and again at 9 and 10 this week are Murray Johnstone and Harry Mercer who will be looking to pull the strings to improve the Bears performance this week.
"Scott McGinley again captains the Bears from openside and joining him in the back row are Trystan Andrews at 8 and making his first start at this level is Scotland U18 captain Liam McConnell.
"Euan Ferrie continues to flourish at Super6 and is forming a great partnership with Hamish Bain in the second row.
"Due to injuries and availabilities, Callum Smith moves across to the loosehead this week and Martin McGinley comes back into the starting XV at tighthead. With Corey Tait stepping down this week as a precaution, it opens the door and affords an opportunity for Jerry Blyth-Lafferty to make his fist start for the Bears.
"Coming into the squad as ‘emergency cover’ and in line to make his FOSROC Super6 debut from the bench this week is 18 year old hooker Finn Duraj.
"In line to make his FOSROC Super6 debut is Connor Allan who sustained an injury in pre-season, so we are looking forward to seeing Connor in action.
"After a good win against Southern Knights last week, the squad have been focused this week in trying to improve areas of our performance that we felt we could have performed better last week and that we can control as we look to progress as a group and continue to move forward.
"It is unusual to be playing back to back games against Super6 opposition, but we are grateful for another home fixture and we know that Southern Knights will arrive at Meggetland desperate to improve on their performance last week and we again need to be accurate across the squad in the execution of our skills and decision making to reduce the opportunities for Southern Knights to threaten us, as we know they can cause problems and given opportunities and they will hurt us."
Bruce Ruthven (Southern Knights): "Matthew Woodward makes his first start for the Knights to accompany Frazer Renwick and Grant Shiels in the front row.
"Rudi Brown and Dalton Redpath continue their partnership in the second row with Wallace Nelson replacing Alan Ferrie in the back row accompanying Harry Borthwick and Sam Derrick.
"Murray Redpath returns at scrum to partner Nathan Chamberlain with Cammy Scott returning to the starting line up pairing Robbie Chalmers who moves one out to outside centre.
"Aidan Cross & Billy Warra keep their places on the wings with Keiran Clark coming in at full back.
:"We have had eight days turn around coming back up to Meggetland where last week we played some great rugby but also gave away too many soft tries.
"The players are aware it will be another good test and it will be a reflection on the weeks preparation both on and off the pitch to see if we can learn from the previous game.
"We have shown over the first five games that we are making improvements and know that we are capable of winning on Saturday but we must be more clinical and show more steel in defence."