BT Premiership PREVIEW | Melrose welcome Currie Chieftains to the Greenyards
This Saturday, current table-toppers Melrose are looking to claim their fifth consecutive win of the season against Currie Chieftains at the Greenyards (kick-off 3pm).
Both teams have had an impressive start to the season – with Melrose remaining undefeated and Currie winning three out of four games.
The Melrose team selection sees several changes, with Neil Irvine-Hess returning after illness and Gavin Wood starting on the wing for the injured Sam Pecqueur.
Nick Beavon also returns to the fold while Edinburgh Rugby’s Ali Miller has been released by the professional club to play this weekend.
The Borderers have demonstrated their attacking intent throughout the opening rounds - scoring a total of 24 tries and securing four consecutive bonus points - and they are seeking to add to that tally this weekend.
Melrose Head Coach, Robert Chrystie, said: “We welcome Ben and his Currie squad to the Greenyards this weekend for what is sure to be an enthralling game.
“Currie have had a good start to the season but they will be disappointed with their result last weekend, which makes them all the more dangerous.
“With a sold-out Ladies Day at Melrose this weekend there is sure to be a great buzz around the ground. The players are in determined mood to improve on last weekend’s performance and are well-aware of the level of performance that is required this weekend.”
It is anticipated to be a hotly-contested fixture, as Currie Chieftains have also enjoyed an inspiring start to their 2017/18 campaign, only to fall short last weekend against a strong Ayr side.
The team have been working hard to ensure that they make amends this weekend as Currie Chieftains Head Coach, Ben Cairns, said: “It was not good enough from our perspective last week.
“Ayr clearly targeted a big start and we gave them too many opportunities to get early points on the board.
“Although there was a reaction after half time, the damage had been done and the gap proved too big."
Cairns acknowledges the tough challenge ahead, but expects a close encounter.
He continued: "This week’s match doesn’t get any easier – with the form they are in, Melrose at The Greenyards is currently the toughest fixture in the Premiership calendar. They have had a sublime start to the season playing some fantastic rugby and with a consistency that no other team has been able to match so far.
“However, we have prepared well and are looking forward to the challenge.
"We know that if we can produce the high-performance levels we have shown in patches for bigger periods of the match then we can go toe to toe with the league leaders.”
Elsewhere, it’s Friday night lights for Watsonians as they host Heriot’s at Myreside in an Edinburgh derby.
Hawick aim to bounce back from a disappointing start to the season as they visit Glasgow Hawks at Balgray.
Ayr look to build on their win against Currie last weekend as they face Stirling County at Millbrae while Marr travel to Meggetland to face Boroughmuir.
Melrose v Currie Chieftains 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 Currie Chieftains, The Greenyards, 3pm
Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Ross McCann, Nyle Godsmark, Craig Jackson CAPTAIN, Gavin Wood; Jason Baggott, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiels, Russel Anderson, Ruairi Mcleod, James Head, Angus Runciman, Ian Moody, Neil Irvine-Hess, Ali Miller
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Nick Beavon, Ruaridh Knott, Bruce Colvine, Ben Chalmers
Currie Chieftains: Ben Robbins; Ruaraidh Smith, Harvey Elms, Robbie Nelson CAPTAIN, Cammy Gray; Jamie Forbes, Charlie Shiel; Kris Burney, Callum Mackintosh, A.P. McWilliam, Vince Wright, Mike Vernel, Luke Crosbie, Thomas Gordon, Rhys Davies
Replacements: Graeme Carson, John Cox, Stephen Ainslie, Scott McGinley, Cammy Smith
BT Premiership Round 5 – Friday 29 September
Watsonians v Heriot’s, Myreside, 7.30pm
Saturday 30 September
Ayr v Stirling County, Millbrae, 3pm
Boroughmuir v Marr, Meggetland, 3pm
Glasgow Hawks v Hawick, Balgray, 3pm