Heriot's travel to Ayr to contest the Tennent's Premiership Final
Heriot’s know they will have to reproduce some of their best rugby of the season if they are to overturn table-topping Ayr on their home patch and secure the Tennent’s Premiership title this Saturday (6 April) at Millbrae (Kick-off 3pm).
Whilst the Millbrae men will be strengthened by their home advantage and successful league campaign, they have full knowledge that Heriot’s, too, will bring an outfit brimming with confidence, as the visitors recorded a 25-7 victory the last time they came face-to-face.
Ayr’s league campaign has been one to remember, with the team securing 14 wins out of 18 games and 15 additional bonus points.
Heriot’s have only lost three games and drawn one throughout the season.
The sides have met each other twice this season with the honours shared, Ayr securing one win and Heriot’s the other.
Head Coach of Ayr, Peter Murchie, said: “Our players have come through two weeks of knockout rugby and that will stand the team in good stead going into this game.
“The last two weeks have also underlined the amount of belief this group of players has in each other.
“The chance to be at home in front of our amazing support is a huge boost for us and we are expecting a big crowd to get behind the boys in this final to help us achieve the result we are looking for.”
Ayr will have Stafford McDowall in their ranks after being released by Glasgow Warriors and will start at 12. The rest of the starting team remains unchanged.
Heriot's began with an impressive start to their 2018/2019 campaign with three consecutive wins until they were defeated by Ayr.
The Edinburgh outfit will be looking to leave Millbrae with a victory and will be bolstered by the inclusion of Edinburgh player Struan Dewar.
Ali Johnstone and Jason Hill will also be looking to make an impact from the bench.
Heriot’s Head Coach, Phil Smith, said: “The squad are playing well and are very focused on what we have to do to give us a chance of the win.
“Our two league fixtures are long in the memory now, and while we won the most recent fixture at Millbrae, we are fully aware that we are playing a team very much on the rise after two strong wins against reigning champions Melrose.
“The squad are playing well and are very focused on what we have to do to give us a chance of the win.
“We are fully aware that we are playing a team very much on the rise after two strong wins against reigning champions Melrose.
“Our last play-off fixture against Ayr was three years ago in the grand-final at Millbrae. This was a great occasion - the sun shining, a big crowd and an exciting eight try thriller – a real celebration of the club game.
“Let’s hope these two squads can bring something close to this again, and hopefully the same outcome.”
Ayr v Heriot's, Millbrae, 3pm
Ayr: Grant Anderson; Danny McCluskey, Paddy Kelly, Stafford McDowall, Kyle Rowe; Frazier Climo, Harry Warr; Ruaridh Sayce, Robbie Smith, Steven Longwell, David Corbenici, Lars Morrice, Blair Macpherson, Tommy Spinks, Pete McCallum CAPTAIN.
Replacements:Alex McGuire, Euan McLaren, Alfie North, Cam Reece, Jack Preston, Ollie Smith, Ratu Tagive.
Heriots: Charlie Simpson; Jack Blain, Ross Jones, Robert Kay, Craig Robertson; Stuart Edwards, Andrew Simmers; Josh Scott, Michael Liness, Struan Cessford, Callum Marshall, Adam Sinclair, Iain Wilson CAPTAIN, Jack McClean, Struan Dewar.
Replacements: Ali Johnstone, Stewart Mustard, Rhuaridh Leishman, Martin Hughes, Jason Hill, Alex Ball, Rory Carmichael.