FOSROC Super6 team announcements
Ahead of the inaugural matches in the FOSROC Super6, the teams will release their starting XV for the first weekend of action
Preview: Boroughmuir Bears v Stirling County
FOSROC Super6 begins in earnest this evening at Meggetland as Boroughmuir Bears and Stirling County meet in the inaugural fixture of Scottish rugby’s new flagship club tournament.
The hosts are led by stand-off Chris Laidlaw and feature two FOSROC Academy Stage 3 players in their starting XV in the shape of tighthead prop Dan Winning and Gregor Brown at blindside flanker, while there are plenty of other debutants in Graham Shiel’s 23-man selection.
Shiel can also call upon Glasgow Warriors’ Bruce Flockhart from the bench, and is understandably excited about tonight’s game, saying: “After a great period of time to focus on physical conditioning, the players are looking forward to taking the field in a competitive fixture.
“Selection for game one has been a challenge with a more competitive squad and all players having worked hard through the summer to improve physical conditioning.
“There are some very familiar names and faces to the Boroughmuir support, but also a new look to the squad with nine players making their debuts against Stirling County and a further five set to make debuts off the bench.”
“Stirling County will be a handful as always and in similar circumstances, where they will have a number of new players in their squad, so it’s bit of an unknown as we step into the first game.”
Visitors Stirling County, under the auspices of Ben Cairns, are boosted by the selection of three FOSROC Academy Stage 3 players: Cameron Henderson in the second row, tighthead Murphy Walker and centre Grant Hughes, with Glasgow Warriors’ Brandon Thomson (full back), Adam Nicol (prop) and Adam Ashe providing further ballast.
Cairns said: “Having picked up a few injuries through pre-season, a number of players have returned to the fold just in time to put their hand up for selection for the first ever FOSROC Super6 match. This has meant competition for places and some difficult decisions.
“Whilst the core of the squad played for County last season, there are seven players - Charlie Brown, Ollie Bartlett, Dean Taylor-Menzies, Connor Gordon, Caleb Korteweg, Josh Henderson and Landon Hayes - who will make their competitive debut for the club.
“It’s great to have three Warriors involved as well. All three have played for the club in the past, with both Adams playing for the club before going pro.”
On the challenge presenting itself to his Stirling County squad, Cairns added: “It’s great to be part of the first ever FOSROC Super6 match. All of our players and staff cannot wait to get into competitive action after a long build up and we are really looking forward to the occasion.
“Boroughmuir have done an excellent job in promoting the match and we are expecting people to come out in force to support both sides in this new venture.
“We played the Bears a couple of weeks ago but as ever it is hard to read too much into a pre-season hit out. They have retained some of their stand-out performers from the Premiership last season and we know they will be eager to impress at home.”
Preview: Southern Knights v Watsonians
Southern Knights welcome Watsonians Rugby to The Greenyards on the opening weekend of FOSROC Super6, with their brand new 3G pitch sure to make for a picturesque setting.
Rob Chrystie’s first ever Southern Knights selection includes two FOSROC Academy Stage 3 members, Shaun Gunn (prop) and Rory Darge (back row), both of whom start on the bench. Elsewhere, Tom Galbraith marks his return to Melrose at inside centre and exciting flyer Joe Jenkins makes his debut on the wing.
On the eve of the game, Head Coach Chrystie said: “There were some very difficult selections for the first FOSROC Super 6 match which will be held at our new 3G pitch at The Greenyards. The whole squad of 35 have worked extremely hard during pre-season and all deserve recognition. The team will be captained by the experienced Fraser Thomson and the pack led by Grant Shiells.
“I am sure Fergus and his team will have his Watsonians side well prepared and raring to go. Our focus has very much been on ourselves and ensuring we are as well organized as possible.
“We are all extremely excited to get started and with a sold-out lunch and a large crowd expected for our first ever FOSROC Super 6 match we are determined to put in a performance that we can all be proud of.
“I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has been involved in the rebrand for the Southern Knights and our sponsors that have come on board. This is a hugely exciting time and would not have been possible without all their support.”
Visitors Watsonians Rugby have FOSROC Academy Stage 3 players in the form of openside flanker Connor Boyle and scrum-half Roan Frostwick. They are also boosted in the pack by Edinburgh duo Jamie Hodgson (second row) and Jack Stanley (tighthead).
Lee Millar captains the side from stand-off for a match Head Coach Fergus Pringle is keenly anticipating: “We all know that the pre-season build up to the start of FOSROC Super 6 has been long, and everyone is buzzing to finally get the competitive games underway.
“The commitment of our squad has been excellent and now is the time to put our preparations to the test. We have a squad of 30 players available to choose our first match day 23 from and seven boys will unfortunately miss out.
“It’s already evident that squad depth will be tested in Super 6 and our whole squad will be crucial to us performing consistently.
“We couldn’t have chosen a better way to start the competition. Going down to The Greenyards to take on the newly named Southern Knights on their new pitch will be a big challenge for us, and we are looking forward to it. This will be a big occasion for the Melrose community and the Knights and they will be determined to start off their campaign well. Our job is to focus on ourselves and our performance, and if we meet the physical challenge head on, and execute our plans, we’ll give ourselves a chance of coming out on top.”
Preview: Ayrshire Bulls v Heriot's Rugby
Ayrshire Bulls begin their Super6 adventure at Millbrae by hosting Heriot’s Rugby in Sunday’s live game. Peter Murchie can call upon a triumvirate of FOSROC Super6 Academy Stage 3 players from his 35-man pool as second-row Marshall Sykes starts while stand-off Ross Thompson and centre Ollie Smith are named on the bench.
Scotland World Cup star Gordon Reid is named at loosehead prop and Glasgow Warriors are represented on the wing by Robbie Nairn in a side led by captain Peter McCallum.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Peter Murchie said: “It’s always a tough selection for the first game of the season, especially when the players have all worked so hard over the last few months.
“With this being the start of a new era for the Ayrshire Bulls and there are a number of new faces to the group that will start to be more recognisable as the weeks progress. Pete McCallum captains the group this year with Blair Macpherson as vice-captain - congratulations to them.
“With us having a 35-man squad we will be looking to give players the opportunity to play and stake a claim for the jersey over the next few weeks. These are the players that get the first opportunity and we are looking for them to represent the entire group in what I am sure will be a great game.
“We are really excited to be finally kicking off our FOSROC Super6 campaign against Heriots on Sunday. They look like having a strong squad and have kept some continuity from last season. With this being the first game of the season the major focus for the game is on ourselves and putting out a performance that we can be proud of and set the tone from what we can expect from an Ayrshire Bulls team.
“The event should be a big one, with Remembrance Sunday and the plans that have been put in place to link in with that, alongside the fact that the game itself should provide plenty of entertainment.”
Phil Smith, who is in charge of visitors Heriot’s for their first Super6 match, names four FOSROC Academy Stage 3 players on the bench for their opener. Prop Dan Gamble, second-row Charlie Jupp, flanker Jack Mann and back three operator Jack Blain are all set to come on at some point.
On his selection, Smith said: “Only James Spencer, Ruairidh Leishman and Callum Marshall are unavailable through injury. So, we have selected a group based on training and pre-season performance.
“While it will feel like we are playing our recent final rivals, the changes in squads means this will be a different contest, as we are both going in blind.
“That being said, there is a real buzz of anticipation throughout the squad and I am hoping we will see evidence of their hard work over the past few months.
“If we do, I am hoping we will see similar matches to the two high level finals played back in April, only with a different outcome.”